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MCT: Friday, May 15, 2020

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CLEAR SKIES early Friday morning will become overcast later in the day as a storm system approaches from the west. Rain accompanied by gusty south winds will develop on Saturday, with showers persisting Sunday into early next week. In addition, a slight chance of thunderstorms will exist Sunday and Monday. (NWS)

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John Allen Gilmore, 75, died Sunday, April 12, 2020 at his home in Fort Bragg, California after a yearlong battle with Alzheimers disease.

He was born in Lawton, OK on November 25, 1944. After his father Loren returned home from serving in the US Army in WWII, he and his mother Mary Ann moved the young family to Peewaukee, WI. When John was 7, the family moved to Glen Ellyn, IL, where he graduated from Glenbard West High School in 1962.

He had begun piano as a child, and by the time he was in high school, he had formed a jazz ensemble. Unbeknown to his parents, John would sneak off to hear the beboppers in Chicago's south side jazz clubs. After beginning tertiary education at Oberlin College in both English and Music studies, he transferred to Indiana University for its then rare jazz program under David Baker where his trio won a national competition to perform at the Newport Jazz Festival.

After graduating, John moved back to Chicago to pursue a doctorate in English Literature at the University of Chicago. He supported himself by driving a cab and playing in a small ensemble, "City Lights." While being increasingly pulled into the fight for social justice during the height of the anti-war movement, he kept up his involvement in avant-garde jazz, working with musicians such as Muhal Richard Abrams and Anthony Braxton. In the early '70s, John went to work at the Abraxas Foundation in Pennsylvania, a program offering an alternative to prison for first-time offenders.

He moved to the Mendocino Coast in the mid '70s and quickly became a fixture in the local jazz scene. He met his wife Salina (nee Mera) of 30 years while playing piano at the Caspar Inn in 1975. Seven years later he moved in with her and her 3 children. In 1985 they had a son and were married at their home in 1990. He began teaching Music at Dana Gray Elementary and continued to educate and inspire young musicians for 25 years before his retirement.

He was the most loving and caring of older brothers. A 7-year age gap separated him from his 3 siblings, and he never ceased to act as a magical, imaginative "uncle," always patient and inventive. At his request his body was donated to the UCSF School of Medicine where he can continue to be a source of education for young minds. When asked how he would like to be remembered, he said "he was a slow learner, but he kept on trying."

He is survived by his wife Salina, son Loren of Chicago, IL, stepson Gitan (Xia) Whelan of Redding, CA, stepdaughters Madrone Whelan and Majica Alba of Sacramento, CA, sister Laurie (William) Perkins of Elk Grove Village, IL, and brothers Donald (Henrietta) of Milford, NJ, and Scott (partner Kris Jarantoski) of Chicago, IL.

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(photo by Chris Calder)

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by Chris Calder

With about a million and a half dollars worth of spending cuts made from its $3.3 million general fund budget — mostly layoffs, furloughs, early retirement, cancelled job offers, and salary and benefit givebacks from city workers and police — the Fort Bragg City Council set about addressing the uncounted but undoubtedly severe economic toll of COVID-19.

Even though the coast's second COVID-19 case was announced Tuesday — a traveling nurse at the newly renamed Adventist Health Mendocino Coast hospital in Fort Bragg — the region and city have been spared any COVID-19 surge — so far. Local government's attention has been turning more and more to long term and immediate economic cost.

But the health and economic aspects of COVID-19 can't he separated. Before anything like a normal retail, let alone tourist, economy can resume, there has to be a set of rules in place that satisfies county and state health officials.

At Monday's meeting, the council set enforcement rules that they hope will make that reopening an uninterrupted path, without having to double back if there is a surge in cases, so far avoided.

That process is where things get very complicated, some would say (though no one did Monday) impossible, since there are still not nearly enough testing capacity to genuinely track the virus' spread.

So, all across the country, governments large and small are having to make policy decisions based on guesswork, as the Fort Bragg council did this week.

After hesitating two weeks ago at imposing fines on individuals over not following state health orders, council members unanimously flipped, swayed mostly by the argument that, if business owners have to be responsible for what happens on their premises, they need the option of some enforceable backup on their recalcitrant customers.

The discussion followed a week where local business people, mostly on Facebook, described an increase in abuse of their employees over trying to get some customers to wear masks in stores. Tales circulated of workers and proprietors being cussed at and even spit on and threatened by irate customers staging impromptu freedom tantrums at local establishments, mostly refusing to wear masks.

Council members ended up voting 5-0 for a set of fines on both businesses and individuals designed to make a sharp impression on repeat offenders and the belligerent. Most of the enforcement effort, said City Manager Tabatha Miller, would go into persuasion and education, with fines reserved for the most obstinate.

What to do about longer term relief and recovery was not so clear cut. 

Council members refocused a set of hoped for federally funded economic endeavors and projects — the sometimes locally reviled Community Development Block Grant program — on post-COVID-19 priorities.

CDBG grants have paid for a range of projects in Fort Bragg, some popular and some not. Now, though, CDBG and other federal money is very likely where federal stimulus will come from. Council members sorted through earlier priorities and came to a batch that is more focused on economic assistance and loans, though the fire station roof is still on the list.

Though council members did not specifically mention this either, it was hard not to notice how small the amounts they have to work with are. Maybe not in normal times, but in the face of what looks to be widespread and possibly longterm economic devastation — and no sign yet of a reopened tourist economy for this year — a little under $2 million for economic development seems a drop in the bucket.

There was plenty of hope at least in Fort Bragg Fire Chief Steve Orsi's message to the council, thanking them for not pulling funds from the roofing project on the 1947 firehouse.

Three good-sized development projects are also squarely in the council's sights: the Avalon Hotel project north of town, a Grocery Outlet on the far south end of Franklin Street, and the millsite proposals of Harvest Market's owners and California Western Railroad (the Skunk Train), both of which remain active.

It seems unlikely that any project that promises a boost to economic activity is going to get much resistance from this council post-COVID-19. Council members Monday generally signaled their interest in seeing millsite planning go forward. Council member Jessica Moresell-Haye asked if the city might send plans to the California Coastal Commission for the north half of the site only. City Manager Miller gave a very qualified “yes.” As with all Coastal Commission dealings, it is very complicated.

But the intention was clear: do everything possible to get cash and technical help to business owners now and put the city in a better position for project-related federal aid in the near term. Miller said it might be that "shovel ready" projects will be first in line when the federal government passes an infrastructure package.

That, she has said, is the light that cities are waiting for, that will truly address the unprecedented economic shock that communities and local governments are seeing now.

Recent cuts will affect city services pretty noticeably. City Hall will be open four days a week instead of five; parks, bathrooms and other public facilities are likely to have more limited hours.

But police staffing and fire department resources have held steady and the city's new wastewater treatment plant has been brought online over the past month without incident. Miller said the present spending cuts ought to last through fall, when it's hoped things like actual tax revenues and the economic outlook will be clearer.

Until then, the city council — Mayor Will Lee, Vice Mayor Bernie Norvell, Lindy Peters, Tess Albin-Smith and Moresell-Haye — seems to be taking a United We Stand approach, with plenty of discussion but rarely a split vote these days. There's a lot of reliance on things like Fire Chief Orsi's words of encouragement: "I believe there's not much we can't do if we're all pulling in the same direction."

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by Mark Scaramella

Apparently some locals who either listened to the Tuesday board of Supervisors meeting or the subsequent KZYX report’s audio clip, mistakenly concluded that Mendo’s Health Officer, Dr. Noemi Doohan of San Diego, hung up on Supervisor McCowen as McCowen was trying to impress on the good doctor the need for speed in getting at least some local retail operations open again.

McCowen: “The health officer released a draft revised shelter in place order a week ago yesterday that would have allowed for in-store retail with all the constraints we currently have in place, the limitations, the lack of testing. Dr. Doohan, do you no longer believe that in-store retail is safe for Mendocino County?”

Instead of a direct answer, the easily offended Dr. Doohan took offense: “Supervisor McCowen, I just — I am really baffled by what you are saying. I'm so sorry you do not see my behavior as being appropriately urgent. Your continued questioning leaves me baffled. I do not know how to answer respond to you at this point, sir. [Garbled.] I can only tell you that I have worked night and day for the health and safety of this county and to get the attestation [process] done as quickly as humanly possible [to be prepared for limited re-openings under Governor Newsom’s Phase II which 18 other counties have been approved for]. So I don't know how to answer you.”

McCowen tried again: “If in your judgment in-store retail was appropriate eight days ago, has something changed to make that not appropriate today, other than the governor's order?”

Doohan started to answer: “The governor's order has –” but the doctor’s connection was dropped mid-sentence.

Board Chair John Haschak: “Dr. Doohan?”

Board Clerk: “Dr. Doohan has lost her connection.”

It didn’t sound like she hung up on McCowen, although there seemed to be a princess-and-the-pea vibe emanating from San Diego. But nobody made any attempt to reconnect and the question was never answered, nor did McCowen attempt follow-up.

Supervisor McCowen also proposed formally discontinuing the Supervisors’ generous no-doc travel stipends last Tuesday, seeing as how there’s not much travel from the supervisors’ outlying homes to Ukiah these days. 

After listening to McCowen’s proposal, Supervisor Ted Williams responded: “These are some good ideas you have put on the table. If you want to waive the vehicle reimbursement and give it to a nonprofit, I don't care. But we are talking about businesses going under around the county. Didn’t we agree to not bring any non-essential items forward? We are talking now about giving staff direction. You are using County Counsel time. That time should be used for getting the attestation done, getting businesses reopened, getting the testing we need. We are chewing up staff time right now to discuss something that is pennies at the end of the day. We have a $300 million budget. These are good ideas, but it's not a priority.”

McCowen: “We can certainly put it on the back burner. If you are willing to submit the required documentation then it's not an urgency item that we are making a gift of public funds.”

Supervisor Dan Gjerde: “I think we have all learned that in spite of the existing resolution…”

Let’s pause here to recall how this over-generous stipend began back in the unlamented David Colfax-Kendall Smith days when the board formalized these stipends for the Supervisors who live some distance from the meeting place in Ukiah. Supervisors Colfax and Smith regarded supporting travel chits as an irritation, them being big shots and all, that they could go wherever and do whatever without having to document their travel or have some pesky grand jury or auditor look over their shoulder. The “resolution” has not been adjusted even though Williams lives much farther from Ukiah than Colfax did but the fifth district’s stipend is still based on Colfax’s commute. Hamburg, who lived in Ukiah, got the excessive Colfax amount for his two terms too, but nobody said a peep.

Back to Gjerde: “…we assume staff will follow through to allow us to waive the monthly car allowance. I have done it. Supervisor McCowen says he’s done it. I am assuming the rest of the board will be doing it in the next 24 hours. I agree with Supervisor Williams that this is not a high priority item for County Counsel to write this resolution amendment. I am not opposed to bringing it back in due course.”

CEO Angelo suggested the board talk to the Auditor before changing the Colfax-Smith policy, adding that she agrees it's not that much money and that she is “trying” to reduce the County’s Covid-related expenses — without itemizing which ones, of course, adding "…Which is not a very easy thing to do."

Cutting costs when necessary due to declining revenue is the CEO’s job, not something to whine about at every opportunity.

McCowen, of course, wouldn’t quit that easily: “Given the current amounts it amounts to about $36,000 a year as a tax-free gift to the Supervisors. I heard a majority of the board say they support changing the policy. We also all support not bringing this back in the near-term.”

Supervisor Carre Brown agreed.

Williams: “I have already asked the Auditor to waive my stipend. But I don't support this very discussion. We are wasting time that should be spent on getting businesses reopened and on Covid response. This is ridiculous!”

Board Chair John Haschak agreed that he would waive his travel allowance when not traveling.

McCowen the Unstoppable: “I don't believe that all County business should stop because we are in a pandemic. We had quite a discussion today regarding the attestation process. Supervisor Williams, straight back to you, you are so intent on we have to focus on Covid — it would have been nice to have more active support for making sure we do everything we can to complete the attestation process as thoroughly and as timely as we could.”

Williams: “You have my support on that. I was just asking, What are the ideas? What specific actions do you want us to take? Now we are talking about something completely unrelated to Covid. It's your personal business. Go take care of it.”

McCowen: “I am taking care of it.”

Haschak: “Can we stick to the item please?”

McCowen: “And I thought that our taking action to discontinue being paid our travel allowance for travel not taken would be the low hanging fruit. We have numerous county employees who receive a travel allowance as part of their contract. They are being paid for travel not taken. We are going to be going into a very difficult budget year. So yes, [sarcastically] a trivial $36,000 year, $50,000 there -- we are not going to have the revenue to continue doing everything we have been doing. I would hope there would be more direction to request some assessment of how many contracts we currently have that are paying people, county employees, for travel not taken. And perhaps notify those people if they submit the same advice to the Auditor to no longer reimburse them for travel not taken.”

Instead of steering the discussion into the much more significant travel allowances of the dozens of other top County officials, Chair Haschak nitpicked the amount the Supervisors get: “You keep throwing out the $36,000, but that's assuming it's a whole year of travel and I don't think we are going to be in this situation, I hope we are not, for a full year. We have been in it for about two months. My feeling is we are close to coming out of it.”

Haschak gave no basis for his entirely unsubstantiaed “feeling.” 

Haschak also noted that submitting individual travel reimbursements when they “come out of it” which have to be approved by four (!) separate County officials is too cumbersome. 

The Board then agreed to forego their own stipends voluntarily for now with the hope that someone follows up at an unspecified later date with perhaps a streamlined process that wouldn’t involve as many sign-offs.

But the questions of 1) how much money is wasted on the senior staff’s untraveled travel allowances the under Covid Shelter in Place order, and 2) what the County can do when they don’t “have the revenue to continue doing everything we have been doing,” were left open. As was the question of why they even need travel stipends given their generous salaries.

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Where to find corona stats for Mendo:

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Colt .45

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by Rex Gressett

At the Fort Bragg City Council meeting before last - City Manager Tabatha Miller wanted the council to fine businesses up to 10 Grand for the presumption of conducting business during the pandemic - and empower low-level clericals in the Development Department to wander around town imposing fines between $100 and $500 bucks on anyone not wearing a mask. That was two weeks ago. Way back then, the Council wasn’t going for it. Actually, they seemed a little bemused. In the 14 intervening days, the reality of unchecked bureaucratic power and unimpeded police state authority worked its magic on our local representative government. The sweet taste of personal importance and power unrestrained by conventional law worked its malignant magic.

Last Monday night at the regular meeting, the temptation to crack down on the peasants was just too much for them. City Manager Tabatha was back with a streamlined proposal for imposing fines on the people of the city and uber social control freak Mayor Will Lee was happy to lead the City Council on their first baby steps down the slippery slope of unconstitutional police state intrusion. Nothing of particular importance happened in the interval between council meetings.

In the discussion, there was mention of a group of four teenagers who were stopped by the cops for not wearing masks, and apparently, there was one incident involving a single sleazy hotel manager who took proffered cash from an out-of-towner. But by all accounts, people in Fort Bragg are social distancing admirably with good grace and general courtesy. The City Council was not reacting to a crisis of disobedience. They were proving conclusively to the people of Fort Bragg that power is seductive and our local City Council is not immune.

In the same resolution, the city council appointed themselves to adjudicate the fines. Courts of law? Who needs them.

Councilperson Jessica Morsell-Haye distinguished herself by her enthusiasm to crack down on her fellow citizens, but every member of the City Council voted to impose the quasi-legal fines. I give a pass to Tess Albin-Smith who, as usual, was struggling to understand what was going on - although she stuck her hand up obediently when the rest of the Council made the decision.

When the story broke on MSP the next day and thousands of irritated citizens mocked, derided and attacked the Mayor and the Council for power overreach - the Mayor reminded his constituents in his comments that there would be warnings for first-time violators and assured the people that the fines would be imposed with restraint. He is missing the point. There was a kind of inevitability to it. Where there is no pushback on the government there never has been, and never will be any permanent restraint.

For all practical purposes, the pandemic has canceled pushback.

Local government is out of its cage and flying by the seat of its pants. Monday night, the city council made a strong and unmistakable statement that they don’t trust the people of the city. They want a tool with which to control us. Admonition and exhortation are too weak for the unintelligent masses that they have to watch, overprotect and control.

They have forgotten what we must remember.

The brute force of government is held in check by the resistance of the people to unconscionable authority. To our collective dismay, as if in a dark dream, the edifice of constitutional protections has dissolved almost overnight in the withering radiation of fear. The Council has stepped into the vacuum with the mandatory mask rule, not because it was necessary but because they feel more comfortable commanding than they do leading. To command free people is an oxymoron. The law is erected on the sovereignty and dignity of the people. In theory, it is an agreement, not a command. The council threw all of that out the window without a second thought. Irrationality is the result.

The Fort Bragg City Council has given us an insane choice between honorable disobedience to arbitrary administrative edict and the safety of our community. Wearing a mask to protect yourself and your community is logical and decent. Now that the tinpot Mayor and the Council have brought down the hammer, not wearing a mask has become an open assertion that our liberties and our rights are more important than our safety. It’s a ridiculous choice that we should never have had to make.

The list of government tyrannies has become long. If you have too much money in your wallet when the cops pull you over, they can take your cash. They will call it asset forfeiture. If you don’t let the social worker in when they come knocking, the SWAT team may show up.

Day by day, year by year, police state authority metastases. To our shame, there are politicians elected by majorities in the county and the city that actively openly support the suppression of liberty. They hide behind political theater and the doubletalk of official protocol. But their bias against public freedoms is not really a secret. They package disdain for liberty as the pursuit of administrative efficiency.

Fort Bragg Mayor Will Lee has openly made the suppression of public participation his primary - indeed his only real ideology. Tossing constitutional law in the dumpster is a brave new step forward for our local City Council but its old hat to Will Lee. At least he is out front with it.

The Mayor has been an outspoken advocate of arbitrary administrative process and in-transparency ever since he was elected. I really don’t think most people understood that until now.

It is ironic that in the command to put our masks on, his came off. We trusted him because we always trust the defense of liberty to our elected representatives.

Good luck with that.

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(photo by Jan Wax)

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This is my experience as a previous loyal hard working employee… with The Bewildered Pig in Philo California and the owners Janelle Weaver and Daniel Townsend…

I keep posting and deleting this. 

But this one, I am not deleting…

Again, this is like… The fourth one. 

I deserve to tell my story of what has been going on with my life and the distasteful insipid situation I’m dealing with my previous employers.

Not with cruelty is this told.

Just with my truth. 

Let me know what you think.

Here is the story!

I resigned temporarily from my job last October (where I worked for almost three years full time) because my car was hit twice by a logging truck and destroyed. My drive to work was 27 miles both ways and I did not have a car anymore. They were not nice about the situation or really concerned for my well being, seemingly more concerned to see a police report as I might have made this up. I was in a very scary place mentally.

So I resigned with the idea I might return later if I was in a healthier head space and with a vehicle.

I was devastated and though not physically hurt, I was psychologically traumatized.

I went on Disability for PTSD. Even took medication for severe anxiety.

I left all of my culinary equipment there at the restaurant — my knives, my knife bag, my cookbooks, spiralizer, ice cream machine… The list goes on. Over 27 of my own personal culinary tools and equipment. That I brought there to assist in the betterment of their restaurant! With no intention of abandonment and with every intention to go get all of it back. I had a friend try to retrieve them but the timing was always off. 

After 3 months and 20 days, I was feeling healthier (not 100 percent). I had a new safe car and was able to drive. One of the owners and I discussed to meet and we were going to set a date where I would collect my belongings. I believe that’s when I decided not to return to actually work there again. It caused an issue. But I honestly… I don’t know what happened. There was no meeting.

I was completely ghosted and then after numerous efforts to contact them, I was informed that my property was no longer there and to stop contacting them—via text!

This is not only discourteous and just plain mean, but very immoral, vile behavior and also illegal!!!

It's wrong on so many levels. So I am trying to right a wrong.

Even an acknowledgement would be nice. NADA.

Moving forward and saying “oh no you don’t!”

Standing up for myself!

And hoping no other employees are treated with complete disregard and egoistic dismissive cruelty.

Other than that, I’m super happy!!!

I'm healthy, I have a beautiful new safe car, wonderful family and friends and always I am surrounded by supportive creative and kind honest humans.

So, here I am. 

Not approaching this situation with nasty vindictiveness or want of destruction. Just wanting an apology at the very least. Really I do want all of my culinary belongings back. They are my livelihood, my tools of my trade.

This is more than truth. And just a bit of what went down. I actually thought they cared.

I cared. 

So did many other loyal hardworking employees. 

Btw… All gone. They ran. No walking. 


Just tying up loose ends and standing up!

Be safe.

Be kind.


Jessica Erin Leacox

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I wanted to hopefully clarify some of the issues raised in your May 7, 2020 article of titled “Services district ordered to pay local man’s attorney fees.”

Notably, the Mendocino City Community Services District won on nearly every issue raised by Mr. Gomes in his lawsuit, including the validity of the ordinances now in the process of being re-adopted. Any implication by Mr. Gomes that the ordinances were found invalid is false.

The only issue ultimately found in Mr. Gomes’ favor was whether the procedure used by the District to initially adopt a groundwater management program in 1990 needed to be followed yet again when adopting amendments to the original plan. The District is presently going through this process.

Significantly, the Appeals Court ruled in the District’s favor on the District’s ability to manage groundwater through its ordinances holding: “The authority to manage the district’s groundwater resources includes the authority to impose extraction limitations.”

With respect to the recent decision on Mr. Gomes’ attorney’s fees, while the District respectfully disagrees with the court’s decision, the District appreciates the court refusing to award Mr. Gomes the full amount of the requested attorney’s fees. The court noted: “In this case, the success on appeal was on a ‘single issue’ of statutory interpretation.”

Perhaps the most important issue to consider is that the purpose of the District’s groundwater management plan is to protect the availability of groundwater for the common benefit of the community.

Matthew Emrick, Special Legal Counsel, Mendocino City Community Services District

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Illustration of Humpty Dumpty from Through the Looking Glass, by John Tenniel, 1871. 

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It would be nice to have been able to give Adventist Health overwhelming applause for its probable rescue of Coast Hospital but the photo accompanying the story left me dismayed. In this day and age, with our concern about environmental pollution, who would fill a bunch of balloons and release them into the sky to float to sea, sink on the ocean, and enter the bowels of sea critters or settle to the bottom with our other plastic trash? Who is in charge at Adventist Health and where in the world is their common sense? 

Three cheers … sorta.

Rod Jones, Mendocino

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Defendant Tantah Anna Karst, age 46, of Fort Bragg, was sentenced to a year in the county jail Wednesday by the Mendocino County Superior Court for her embezzlement of over $138,000 from a coast veterinary clinic where the defendant had previously been employed. 


Karst stands convicted by plea of three counts of felony embezzlement – one felony each for calendar years 2017 and 2018, as well as one felony for the first two months of 2019. A sentencing enhancement charging the defendant with having committed serial white collar crimes was also admitted by the defendant. 

Additionally, the defendant was convicted of four misdemeanor weapons charges. During the course of the embezzlement investigation, the defendant was found in possession of prohibited weapons – metal knuckles, nunchaku, a switchblade knife, and a collapsible baton.

While the prosecution argued at Wednesday’s sentencing hearing that the white collar crimes constituted aggravated examples of embezzlement deserving of state prison time, the Court chose a different sentencing strategy. Defendant Karst was ultimately sentenced to prison for a term of 52 months, but execution of that sentence was suspended pending the defendant’s successful completion of local supervised probation to last for a period of 60 months.

One of the terms imposed as part of the defendant’s placement on supervised probation is that she serve 360 days in the county jail. With statutory credits, that converts to a jail sentence of 180 actual days. The defendant is to surrender in June to begin serving that local time. 

Another term imposed was monthly restitution payments to the victim. Since the defendant has refused to stipulate to the amount of loss determined by the victim’s financial experts, as confirmed by law enforcement during its investigation, a contested restitution hearing will be set in a few weeks so that a final amount of restitution owed can be ordered. Whatever the final amount ordered, the Court told the defendant that she will be expected to make restitution payments of $1,000 per month or risk having the suspended prison sentence imposed if the failure to make payments is “willful.”

That said, it did not go unnoted by the prosecutor that such a lenient repayment plan, even if fully complied with, will result only in payments against a growing interest versus the stolen principal during the defendant’s time on probation. This is because the legal rate of interest on court-ordered restitution is ten percent per annum, or approximately $13,800 per year. 

The law enforcement agency that developed the evidence to support the convictions was the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office.

The prosecutor who is handling this matter is Deputy District Attorney Josh Rosenfeld.

Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Clayton Brennan was the sentencing judge. He will also be the judge presiding over the upcoming restitution hearing.

(District Attorney Presser)

Ed note: Ten percent interest will keep this woman unemployed and unlikely to ever re-pay any portion of the money stolen, especially in the current plague context. Private theft, public extortion, injustice all the way around.

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STATE LAWMAKERS PROPOSE SWEEPING RELIEF to homeowners, renters (CalMatters)

As missed rent payments and delinquent mortgages pile up across the state, California Democratic lawmakers Tuesday introduced a series of sweeping proposals aimed at shielding homeowners, renters and landlords from the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Ted Williams:

Our census response in the fifth district is poor compared to County (45%), State (60%) and Federal (59%).

We rely on the accurate count for funding. Please complete the census online at

Individual Census tracts in District 5:

  • Mendocino 34.5
  • Little River, Elk 28.4
  • Comptche, Navarro, Philo, Boonville 22.2
  • Manchester, Point Arena, Gualala 25.0
  • City of Point Area 12.4 (also included in the number above)

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Halfback Hugh McElhenny charges though an open hole during a 14-27 loss to the Chicago Bears at Kezar Stadium (photo by Frank Rippon).

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RECOMMENDED READING: "Deadly Times" by Lew Irwin, "The 1910 Bombing of the Los Angeles Times and America's Forgotten Decade of Terror." Given the givens of the present state of our economy and imploding society, another decade of less organized terror may be beginning, terror arising from the terror felt by the many millions of Americans whose lives have been upended. The 1910 terror was similar as the fledgling labor movement fought the plutocrats for union recognition, especially via the closed shop. These days union "leaders" ride with the plutocrats in the same limos, but in the first decade of the 20th century class divisions were clearly drawn, working people against the owning classes, with unions resorting to bombs to compel owners to employ only union labor. 

THE MOST SPECTACULAR bombing of that period was the one that blew up the LA Times, owned by labor's most spectacular and implacable enemy, its founder and editorially fulminating publisher, Harrison Gray Otis. "Deadly Times" describes in great detail the lives of the architects of the bombings, the McNamara Brothers, implacable union men, with J.J. McNamara, the younger brother, the far less grounded of the two. Seldom in the vivid history of this country has a more colorful cast of characters been arrayed in a single courtroom drama, with the McNamaras being defending by Clarence Darrow against evidence assembled by the master detective, William J. Burns. Not so incidentally, except for the LA Times bombing, some 200 others were scrupulously carried out to avoid death and injury to scab workers. If you're unfamiliar with the history of that time, this is a good book to begin your investigations with. "Big Trouble" by J. Anthony, another fascinating account of that period, is also highly recommended. 

DR. RICK BRIGHT, demoted by Trump at HHS for complaining that there's not a coherent plan to fight the virus, warned Congress today that "2020 will be the darkest winter in modern history" if a coherent strategy isn't followed to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. Bright said COVID-19 testing should be nationalized and that there should be a national standard of procurement and distribution for medical equipment. Bright also said that "Our leaders must lead by modeling the behavior" of wearing masks, washing hands and practicing social distancing.

FROM BRIGHT'S TESTIMONY: "Congressman, I'll never forget the emails I received from Mike Bowen indicating that our mask supplier, N95 respirator supplier, was completely decimated and he said 'We're in deep shit, the world is, and we need to act.' And I pushed that forward to the highest levels I could in HHS and got no response. From that moment I knew that we were going to have a crisis for our healthcare workers because we were not taking action. We were already behind the ball, that was our last opportunity to turn on that production to save the lives of our healthcare workers and we didn't act."

TRUMP responded to Bright's criticism by brandishing his alleged pandemic response plans on the White House lawn, his press secretary, Kayleigh McEnamy doing the brandishing while the increasingly erratic leader of the free world looked approvingly on. Ms. McEnamy pointed out, as she also held the Obama admin's plan, that Trump's was larger by at least a folder.

ANOTHER 2.98 million laid-off workers applied for unemployment benefits last week, a Labor Department report released on Thursday showed, bringing the official total to 36 million.

OFFICIAL MENDO seems to be operating on the dubious assumption that the county will get a magic reimbursement from the feds and/or the state when the still developing fallout from the plague stops falling. Seems from here that prudence would dictate worst case scenario planning, that the bailout may not be large enough to cover Mendo's yawning deficits, that there might not be a bailout for Mendo given our lowly status as a lightly populated dope and booze-driven outback. But over in Fort Bragg, the savvy city manager Tabatha Miller and her supportive city council, are making plans to keep city government afloat if magic money doesn't appear.

LAKE COUNTY is seldom looked to as a model how-to kinda place (unless it's how to manufacture crank), but Lake and HumCo both have a lot of their workers laboring from home. Mendo? Nope.

* * *

CATCH OF THE DAY, May 14, 2020

Franks, Guyette, Nace

SCOTT FRANKS, Ukiah. Domestic battery. 

THOMAS GUYETTE JR., Stolen vehicle, probation revocation.

THOMMY NACE, Ukiah. Under influence, county parole violation, probation revocation.

* * *


by Will Somer

One would think that a global pandemic resulting in the deaths of tens of thousands of Americans would present a fair number of challenges for anti-vaccine activists. But in the wake of the spread of the novel coronavirus, the community is—to borrow an overused phrase—having a moment. 

They’re pushing their dangerous views at anti-lockdown protests across the country, raising fears about the risks of any future COVID-19 vaccine. Plandemic, the coronavirus conspiracy-theory video starring a discredited doctor allied with anti-vaccine activists, racked up millions of views on social media before it was banned from YouTube and Facebook. In Australia, a crowd called for billionaire Bill Gates to be arrested—all for the “crime” of funding vaccine research. 

And yet, with increased visibility comes heightened pressure. And as the anti-vaccine movement tries to take advantage of the pandemic, it’s been torn in half by a new feud and multiple lawsuits over the most damaging claim someone can make about an anti-vaccine activist: that they secretly support vaccines.

On one side of the fight is Robert F. Kennedy Jr., perhaps the country’s most prominent anti-vaccine activist, whose own family members have disowned his anti-vaccine views. On the other is Shiva Ayyadurai, the self-styled “inventor of email” who’s running in the Republican primary for a Massachusetts Senate seat. 

Last week, their simmering fight over leadership of the anti-vaccine movement spilled into court, with Ayyadurai suing Kennedy for $95 million for defamation.

Ayyadurai has been publicly feuding with Kennedy since at least January, when he claimed on Twitter that Kennedy was afraid to take a picture with him at an anti-vaccine event and tying Kennedy to Hillary Clinton, who has been dubbed in the community as the “vaccine queen.” 

The clash between the two has only accelerated in the coronavirus era, as Ayyadurai, who holds a Ph.D. in biological engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and has long associated himself with fringe right-wing activists, styled himself as a coronavirus expert. 

Ayyadurai’s claims about “coronavirus fear-mongering” were cited by Fox News host Sean Hannity, while QAnon conspiracy theorists pushed for Ayyadurai to replace Dr. Anthony Fauci as the face of the country’s coronavirus response. 

At the same time, Ayyadurai has clashed with other prominent anti-vaccine activists, even as he himself argued that the coronavirus could be dealt with through vitamins. Ayyadurai dubbed Kennedy a member of the “Kennedy Klinton Klan,” portraying him as a secret ally of Gates and the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee. 

Ayyadurai appears to have picked Kennedy as a foil because he’s preparing to face Kennedy’s nephew, Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-MA) in the Senate general election. The younger Kennedy is currently polling ahead of incumbent Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) in the Democratic primary. 

This isn’t Ayyadurai’s first Senate run. In 2018, he badly lost an independent Senate bid for the seat held by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) in which he urged voters to back “the REAL Indian.” Ayyadurai faces only one GOP primary opponent, attorney Kevin O’Connor.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. shot back against Ayyadurai on April 28, suggesting in a blog post that Ayyadurai is “controlled opposition” working on behalf of unnamed forces intent on dividing and undermining anti-vaccine activists with “venomous salvos.” 

(Courtesy, Daily Beast)

* * *


My family has owned the Bunker Hill Ranch in Dos Rios for almost 60 years, and we’ve had friends on the Round Valley reservation for 25 years. One of these friends told me years ago that armed men showed up at a tribal council meeting to intimidate the council members regarding grows on tribal lands. We have also found grows and camps on our ranch.

So Sheriff Kendall, I applaud your efforts. And – I know this may not be popular – but I would support a permanent tax increase to support your efforts. There has been much injustice done in Round Valley (and Dos Rios) over the years, and it’s refreshing to see a public servant supporting justice. Keep up the great work!

* * *


* * *


A bit of medical history. I’ve had both liver and bone biopsies in the past…both in military hospitals, without anesthetic. I had a broken leg (undiagnosed) by being hit by a car on duty. I’ve had a CAT scan, and have been both X-rayed and Ultraviolated. But today…today I have been STIMULATED!

Yes, today we received a nice check from the Great Father in the East.

Money from home,

The Eagle has landed.

What to spend it on? I cannot, off hand, even think of a current need… I only know I have to get rid of the god damned thing before the currency becomes…diluted. This is just the first check of many I am expecting…a Nigerian Prince will be sending me significant sums in the short term. Ed McMahon will be sending me greetings from Publishers clearing house….

Remember the $500 everyone got back in 2008? Bought a 9N ford tractor with that. Now, I can buy almost five of them….

Thank You Donald!

* * *



I was listening to the Coast to Coast AM radio program recently and a guest made an interesting observation about social distancing, but of a more metaphorical type. He said that people in public spaces being engaged with their laptops and/or smartphones rather than people immediately around them is a form of social distancing.

That makes sense to me. I normally spend a fair amount of time in coffeehouses where many people are engaged with their laptops and phones and appear unapproachable.

About four years ago I was in an independent cafe where there are usually fewer people absorbed with their devices than other cafes. I was sitting next to a woman who was engrossed with her phone and I deliberated whether to attempt to start a conversation with her. But knowing I would be ticked off if she chose her phone over me, I let it go. (I admittedly have a low tolerance for rejection.)

Several months ago I was in a Starbucks and there was a woman sitting about eight feet away from me off to my left who I seemingly found attractive but I was not able to see her face from my angle. She was staring down at her phone and every two or three minutes I would glance her way hoping to get a look at her face. But every time her head was facing straight down at her phone. She left after about 15 minutes without me ever getting a look at her face. Clearly her body language was saying, "I'm unavailable for conversation."

I am not part of the masses’ tech obsession. Right now I don't own a PC or laptop and I've never owned a smartphone. I gave up my PC in the fall of 2017 and I am definitely happier without owning a computer. Normally when I want to use a computer I go to a local library. But of course that option isn't available right now for the foreseeable future.

I suppose I am simply wondering if the old-fashioned way of meeting people -- that is, in person -- is dying off.

Keith Bramstedt

San Anselmo

PS. Regarding the stimulus checks item in the May 6 Valley people section. I was not expecting to receive a stimulus check because I had seen a youtube video by a financial planner type guy and read an article in the Chronicle business section saying that Social Security disability recipients who are listed as a dependent on someone else's tax return (my mother lists me as a dependent) would not be eligible for the stimulus checks.

That made sense to me since a Social Security disability recipient like me is not as needy as other disability recipients because my mother pays my rent.

Then on Wednesday, April 29, $1200 showed up in my checking account! I was a bit peeved because I had resigned myself to not receiving it. But it certainly helps.

My guess is that the U.S. Treasury or whoever is making the rules for the stimulus checks changed its mind about Social Security disability recipients who are tax dependents after I had seen the youtube video and read the Chronicle article.

* * *


Standing atop a piano, rock 'n' roll singer Jerry Lee Lewis gives an enthusiastic performance at the Cafe de Paris in New York City on June 10, 1958.

* * *



The Gringa Grandota was buttoning up the Pearl Harbor show starring the Japanese Rachel Maddow because the star had just thrown her neck out of joint during a breaking news story.

With a pocket full of yen she was on sound financial footing and was ready for her next adventure which was to be her greatest, just wait and see! Meanwhile Marques, perched atop "Nuestra Barca"" was being towed into Cadiz Harbor under the cover of darkness.

In a cunning act learned from the Editor, he tossed several bars of silver overboard ala Hansel and Gretel. Picking up his mail which consisted of five back issues of Bon Appetite Magazine, after bouncing along half way across the Atlantic surviving on beans and rice, he attacked a large plate of paella, a favorite dish in Cadiz with gamba (large shrimp) piled three inches on top.

Spain, one of the best tourist countries in the world, encouraged Mark S. to visit some of the best looking cities in Europe. They reminded him of colonial cities in Mexico and the rest of the Western Hemisphere -- and why not? They were built at about the same time. He wanted to visit the Prado in Madrid, home to El Greco, Velasquez and Goya, plus one of the most famous paintings in the world, "A Dog's Burial," which hangs in the Prado. Not to forget the Florida hotel where Hemingway lived during the war. When Francisco Franco was alive every radio station in Spain was required to play the recorded voice of Franco on the hour "Espana Arriba."

On the other side of the world Ms. F., sponsored by the Anderson Valley Grape Association, ducked into a non-descript coffee shop and proclaimed "Gimme a cuppa Joe." Out came a white tablecloth, a slender vase containing a long stemmed flower. Next two slices of toast, crusts removed and cut diagonally, two kinds of jam, a medium boiled egg, salt and pepper, a cup of dark brown coffee served in a thin ceramic cup plus a carafe of coffee on the side. Now, in Japan, this is what is called "Coffee And."

Proceeding to her chief interest, Japanese cuisine, Ms. F. was introduced to many strange examples of unrecognizable foods including something called "Japanese seafood." It took some time to figure out what it really was -- whale meat. The Gringo Grandota air freighted frozen whale meat to the Mosswood restaurant and the monarch of the weeklies for their perusal.

Ms. Fashauer decided it would be prudent to cut that long round-trip to the Southern Ocean by shipping frozen whale steaks directly after being harpooned. After a long voyage on the Japanese whaling ships she arranged to freeze the whale steaks and send them from the closest port in Australia, Melbourne, to a central location in Europe, Madrid, where Mark S. would market them to the rest of Europe. Or so she thought.

It was fairly easy to travel to northern Australia. After leaving the South Sea whale business in charge of B. Sanders who was soon to be appointed ambassador to the Falkland Islands, she made her way to Brisbane where many boats were available to travel to Bali. For over 400 years explorers made it a point to spend some time in Bali — Drake, Magellan, Cook, Shackleton and even Bligh. Just as today, popular destinations are due to the abundance of "accommodating" girls.

Once the Gringa Grandota saw Bali she decided to stay. If family and friends wanted to see her they could move to Bali too. It wasn't long before half the population of Philo and Boonville moved to Bali to escape the frost fans.

Back to Spain the Mella Fella viewed the original Zimmerman Note which was preserved under glass at the Prado Museum, workers annex. His confederate had located two of the silver bars dumped overboard in the Cadiz Channel so the Marques had plenty of spending money for the rest of Europe. He had decided to take the scenic route in France over the Pyranees mountains. Since no public transportation was available, he hired a taxi to take him through the mountains. At 3 AM the taxi was abducted and the S’mella was kidnapped by Kurdish separatists. When the Kurds learned of his military background they put him in charge of one of the territorial regions they hoped to fold into a Kurdish state, Tabriz, Iran — along with a slice of Iran, Iraq and Syria and a large portion of eastern Turkey. One day a frozen package arrived in Tabriz. It was from Australia. 

Looks like the round the world race is over.

Ralph Bostrom


* * *

Kalashnikov AK-47

* * *

IF YOU WERE AN ADHERENT, no one would be able to tell. You would look like any other American. You could be a mother, picking leftovers off your toddler’s plate. You could be the young man in headphones across the street. You could be a bookkeeper, a dentist, a grandmother icing cupcakes in her kitchen. You may well have an affiliation with an evangelical church. But you are hard to identify just from the way you look—which is good, because someday soon dark forces may try to track you down. You understand this sounds crazy, but you don’t care. You know that a small group of manipulators, operating in the shadows, pull the planet’s strings. You know that they are powerful enough to abuse children without fear of retribution. You know that the mainstream media are their handmaidens, in partnership with Hillary Clinton and the secretive denizens of the deep state. You know that only Donald Trump stands between you and a damned and ravaged world. You see plague and pestilence sweeping the planet, and understand that they are part of the plan. You know that a clash between good and evil cannot be avoided, and you yearn for the Great Awakening that is coming. And so you must be on guard at all times. You must shield your ears from the scorn of the ignorant. You must find those who are like you. And you must be prepared to fight. You know all this because you believe in Q.

(Arsh Raziuddin, The Prophesies of Q, from a series on conspiracy-think in the Atlantic magazine. "American conspiracy theories are entering a dangerous new place…" Yes, and Mendocino County is rife with conspiracy cranks and plain old cranks. This series is a must read for, among others, the anti-vax nuts.)

* * *



  1. Craig Stehr May 15, 2020

    Taoist Musings

    Without going outdoors
    The Sage knows all things under heaven.
    Without looking through the window
    He sees the Way of Heaven.
    The more one ventures forth
    The less one knows.
    – Tao te Ching

  2. Lindy Peters May 15, 2020

    So refreshing and informative to read Chris Calder cover a Fort Bragg City Council meeting for the AVA. Thank you for giving this task to a real pro. With Mark Scaramella covering the County government and Calder covering City government, Bruce Anderson has managed to land two of the best political reporters in Northern California. Kudos to the AVA!

    • mr. wendal May 15, 2020


  3. James Marmon May 15, 2020


    Camille’s head must be spinning off, a lot of uncertainty lies ahead.


    “Newsom wants to use about $750 million in federal funds to buy some of the hotels that the state has begun leasing to house the homeless, which would be turned over to local governments and nonprofit organizations to provide permanent housing. But other proposals from his January plan would disappear, including about $700 million for homeless social services.”

    • James Marmon May 15, 2020

      The local “Homeless Industrial Complex” (aka Mendocino County Homeless Service Continuum of Care (MCHSCoC)), must be spinning as well. Especially with Newsom wanting to use existing hotels as permanent housing for the homeless. What! no more multi-million dollar apartment buildings on Gobbi Street?


  4. Lazarus May 15, 2020


    “When you gotta go, you gotta go…”

    Be well,

  5. Susie de Castro May 15, 2020

    Chris (Calder) writes: “…Even though the coast’s second COVID-19 case was announced Tuesday…” Please correct or confirm.

  6. Susie de Castro May 15, 2020

    New book

    Imperfect Union by Steve Inskeep: 9780735224353 | Books

    “Steve Inskeep tells the riveting story of John and Jessie Frémont, the husband and wife team who in the 1800s were instrumental in the westward expansion of the United States, and thus became America’s first great political couple.

    John C. Frémont, one of the United States’s leading explorers of the nineteenth century, was relatively unknown in 1842, when he commanded the first of his expeditions to the uncharted West.

    But the most important factor in his fame may have been the person who made it all possible: his wife, Jessie Benton Frémont.

    Jessie, the daughter of a United States senator who was deeply involved in the West, provided her husband with entrée to the highest levels of government and media, and his career reached new heights only a few months after their elopement…”

  7. Lazarus May 15, 2020


    There seem to be several schools of thought concerning the John McCowen dustup with Mimi Doohan and others.

    The FB crowd seems to cheer McCowen’s efforts to get Doohan and others to get off the stick and open up the Mendo, come hell or high water.

    Then there are those who see him as a bully, badgering anyone who gets in the way, but then there are those who say he’s losing it, ala the two, perhaps three, previous sups who went off the other end…Maybe it a good thing he’s up in November.
    Be weel

  8. Will Lee May 15, 2020

    As the Fort Bragg City Council navigates uncharted territory during an unprecedented crisis for our businesses and City government, Chris Calder does a professional review of of our efforts to date in the article “Fort Bragg Pulls Together”. This Council, alongside a very capable City Manager, is demonstrating our commitments and dedication to the well being of our City and our citizens. Faced with enormous financial shortfalls and businesses shuttered for many weeks now, I pledge to the people of Fort Bragg that I will continue to work hard everyday to help us survive this fiscal crisis and devote my attention and resources to supporting our businesses and the hard working people of our great town. With my dedicated colleagues on the Council, we will continue to plan for our future while we support each other during the difficult days ahead.
    Stay healthy, practice physical distancing, wear face coverings, and wash your hands as many times a day as you can. But, just as important- show love, patience and kindness to your friends and neighbors.

    Peace and gratitude,
    Mayor Will Lee
    Fort Bragg

  9. Randy Burke May 15, 2020

    Get ready…”world made by hand” and History of the future” by juntsler.
    .i need a pasture to keep my burro/donkey/mule in preparation of the upcoming events and beyond. Put the guns away, and realize we are related..might even give your kids a ride on ol’ sasafrass if you act civil, and help me tow me car.

  10. George Hollister May 15, 2020

    Something we need to get into our heads is the travel industry will be the most difficult to reopen. The number one industry in this county depends on travelers. So it’s going to be tough. We are going to have to figure out ways to make reopening the travel industry safe, or at least safe enough. Bringing in people from all over, and mixing them up is a recipe for disaster.

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