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MCT: Wednesday, June 10, 2020

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WARM AND MOSTLY DRY conditions are expected in interior areas today and Thursday, although a few showers will be possible Thursday afternoon across the mountains. Coastal clouds will also gradually expand, and will be slower to erode Thursday. Light showers are expected Friday and Saturday, with a few thunderstorms possible Friday. Cooler temperatures are also expected Friday through the weekend. (NWS)

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We heard it was about 50 acres in size and has the potential to burn 150 acres; tanker is flying here from Santa Rosa.

MSP was messaged the fire is in the near 30000 Hwy 128 - started in a vineyard so it’s being called the “Vineyard Incident.” The “Wattle Creek Vineyard” is in that general area. It had what was termed as a “moderate rate of spread.”


They were still hitting it with aerial tankers but the smoke has greatly diminished. An hour ago it was estimated to be 10% contained and had burned 150 acres. (MSP)


A vegetation fire erupted in Mendocino County on Tuesday afternoon, growing to 150 acres before firefighters stopped the spread. The Vineyard fire started at 2:22 p.m., near Highway 128 and Elk Horn Road, about three miles south of Yorkville, Cal Fire said in a news release.

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Miller Report for the Week of June 8, 2020

by William Miller, MD – Chief of Staff at Coast Hospital

Last week, Fort Bragg had its first local resident to be diagnosed with COVID-19. This person had traveled outside the community and became ill shortly after returning home. The person was seen in our ER, where the diagnosis was made, however, did not require admission to the hospital and is currently isolating at home. The County Health Department is handling any necessary contact tracing.

As we continue to slowly roll back on shelter-in-place requirements, we will see more travel in and out of our community. This will include such things as local residents traveling outside to visit family, friends of ours traveling here to visit us and people coming to the Coast to get some fresh air after being cooped up in the cities for the past 2-3 months. With this travel, we will also see cases of COVID locally.

Our hospital and clinics, both North Coast Family Health Center (NCFHC) and Mendocino Coast Clinics (MCC), are prepared to take care of anyone who may become infected. Thanks to the strong shelter-in-place mandate, we have had time to make such preparations. Also, thanks to this mandate, we do not expect to see an overwhelming surge as initially predicted, but instead a slow rise in cases which should be completely manageable.

This reality also makes it very important for us to have adequate surveillance testing all along the Coast. Implementing such remains a challenge largely due to a lack of availability of COVID testing on the scale needed. A group of local leaders including Mayor Will Lee, Ft Bragg City Manager Tabatha Miller, MCC Director Lucresha Renteria, MCDH Administrator Judy Leach and myself are working closely with Dr. Doohan of the County Health Department to increase the number of community tests being done locally. It will be helpful for local residents to contact their County and State representatives to request their assistance in helping us achieve this important goal.

In the meantime, our hospital and clinics remain a safe place to get your health care. I know that some folks have avoided getting needed care due to fears around this epidemic. I encourage anyone who may have personal health issues to not hold back, but to seek the care that they need.

Lastly, we have all been living under an increased amount of stress as this pandemic has unfolded. I ask that all of us continue to treat each other with respect and compassion. Times like this allow us to demonstrate who we really are as a community.

Thank you.

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RE: State Street Construction/Narrowing project:

Six more months of changed conditions on State. It will be this way for a couple of weeks. Please remember a flashing red light means a four way stop. The pedestrian push buttons are not operational so make sure you watch for humans. Plenty of parking on School Street and Main Street to get to your Downtown destination. If you missed my FAQ about the project it’s pinned to the top of this page or you can follow Ukiah Streetscape Project on FB for official updates from the CofU

Maureen Mulheren, Ukiah City Councilperson

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As most of us are aware, the State issued guidance, effective June 12th, to allow for the opening of Campgrounds, RV Parks, Outdoor Recreation Areas, Hotels, Family Entertainment Centers, Restaurants, Bars, Wineries, Fitness Facilities, Museums, Galleries, Movie Theaters, Zoos and Aquariums late last week. Although not as close to home, guidance is also provided for music, film and television production and professional sports without a live audience. Dr. Doohan, Mendocino County’s Public Health Officer, has pledged to allow businesses to open compliant with the state and we anticipate a new Order on June 12th. Of course there is and will be significant guidance and limitation on how those businesses can operate but this list means we are very likely to be open to tourism as early as this weekend.

I have received dozens of inquiries, thoughts and comments on this topic in the last week. I don’t know any details and will likely learn them with everyone else on Friday when Dr. Doohan issues the new order. However, I do know that she has been meeting with business groups, including the lodging industry, to figure out how to implement this significant easing of the Order as safely as possible.

For some, this official opening up to tourists, is too early and for some way too late. City officials have received strongly worded advice from both camps. Regardless of which side of the debate we sit, we all must prepare for this opening. If you haven’t taken a look at the guidance documents provided at the state level, they are fairly complex. The COVID-19 Industry Guidance for Hotels, Lodging and Short Term Rentals is 16 pages long. The County Health Officer will likely add additional guidance in her new Order. Which means that businesses are working hard to meet those standards.

Here at the City, we will be opening the restrooms at the North Noyo Headlands Park on Friday. Our Public Safety Team will be ready for the additional traffic in town. At home, my family will be considering how to safely navigate our town this weekend. Each one of us must make a decision about how much risk we are willing to take in moving into this next stage of reopening. Social distancing and wearing face coverings when you are out will remain a staple of health and safety.

One area of concern for all of us is the lack of testing availability here on the Coast. One aspect of Mendocino County’s Attestation is the County’s determination that there is testing capacity to detect active infection and that the County has the capacity to test a minimum of 1.5 per 1,000 residents or 135 per day. Testing is also to be available for at least 75% of county residents, which is measured by 60 minutes driving time. Without testing on the Coast, the availability measure is not met.

The County’s OptumServe testing at the Fairgrounds in Ukiah is a wonderful resource but not very practical for many. As we invite tourists from all over to our City, we need to secure adequate testing capacity here on the Coast. This is not something we can just expect the County to provide us but something we must ask for and be active partners in securing. This means reminding the County Officials of our needs, partnering with our health providers to administer the testing and for all of us to be willing to get tested. This is especially important for essential workers, who should be tested every two weeks, who will now come in contact with more people travelling from greater distances.

— Tabatha Miller, Fort Bragg City Manager

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MOST OF TUESDAY’S BOARD of Supervisors meeting involved a lot of self-congratulation, some of it may be deserved — if doing your well-paid job can be considered trophy-worthy. There was lots of detailed discussion of the what-if variety prompted by the latest health officer’s order and the presence of Dr. Doohan herself speaking from the Supes chamber. The budget discussion was heavy on department heads reading from their prepared budget presentations. Sheriff Kendall went on at uncharacteristically long length, seemingly to convince the Board — unnecessarily it appeared — not to cut his budget. An organized letter writer campaign against cutting some $75k from the County’s Fire Safe Council prompted discussion and by the end of the day there was talk of restoring some of the Fire Safe Council’s budget. Auditor Lloyd Weer said that due to virus-related decreases in retail sales and bed taxes, the County will see a revenue reduction for this fiscal year (ending this month) of around $2 million, a rather ominous cut given the level of criminality in the county. Budget Officer Darcie Antle said FEMA, by the end of June, is expected to reimburse 75% of the $6 mil that will have been spent on Covid responses. (Motel rooms for around 250 homeless people, which runs out at the end of June, free meal programs for low-income seniors and the Emergency Operations Center being the largest expenses.) The state is expected to reimburse 75% of the remainder, leaving maybe $300k to $400k for the County to absorb. CEO Angelo said the impact of the revenue reductions and additional expenses would be minor because the county has kept a lot of funded positions vacant and accumulated reserves are available to pay off the rest. Supervisor Williams requested that the Sheriff’s overtime budget should be more than zero. The Board seemed to think that a comprehensive review of the County’s thousand or so outside contracts is overdue for a review with several Supervisors expressing concern that there may be overlaps or duplications across departments. Other questions involved the Sonoma County Emergency Services Admin cost, and travel costs. The Cannabis program discussion had to be postponed because the board ran out of discussion time by early evening.

AT THE END OF THE DAY, Supervisor McCowen made the controversial suggestion of cutting some of the Prop 172 fire funding allocation in light of the new money for fires services expected to be realized from the newly passed bed tax on private campgrounds. This of course would be a betrayal of the advisory measure which accompanied the campground tax and sold on the basis that the money would not be taken away from somewhere else. Supervisor Haschak rightly pointed out that he disagreed with McCowen because it would look like a typical government switcheroo. Supervisor Williams added, “It might also be fatal.” Supervisor Dan Gjerde suggested an ad hoc committee on the subject. No motion; no vote taken.

(Mark Scaramella)

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(photo by Larry Wagner)

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LOTS OF CHATTER today on Mendo social media about changing the name of Fort Bragg to something less martial, something more acceptable to locals who seem to think history's more sanguine events can be erased by euphemizing them out of existence and if all of us think happy thoughts. Thinking about it, the version of American history geezers of my age were force fed began with the Indians welcoming the Pilgrims, moved on through noble pioneers fighting their way through the Plains Indians to settle California, the Gold Rush that created San Francisco, World War Two where we beat back bad men with funny mustaches, technical progress a bunch, freeways, with the rest of the world consisting of funny-looking people in even funnier costumes. It was up to us and John Wayne to rule these menacing hordes for their own good! 

I GOT MYSELF a vivid awakening that the history of our country wasn't as boring as I'd been taught, that in fact the USofA was a fascinating place, if a little heavy on bloodshed, when I read John Dos Passos' USA Trilogy. And from there everything else young minds were sheltered from. Our history is what it is. I think the latter-day attempts to re-write the record as all white killers and black and brown victims are as dangerously false as the blandly untrue version I got as a kid. Look the record in its face, Americans! (It’s interesting.)

AS FOR FORT BRAGG, and the rest of Mendocino County, well no way to sugar coat the fact that lovely Mendo’s beginnings — the years 1840-60 especially — were characterized by wholesale murder, slavery, rape, and theft. Early Mendocino County was a straight-up criminal enterprise. Fort Bragg was actually founded to protect the victims of the first white-native interface, not that it was successful but, as the historical re-write likes to insist, our intentions were good. Get yourself a copy of “Genocide and Vendetta” for the true story of Mendocino County’s beginnings.

(JUST PRIOR to the outbreak of the Civil War, Covelo and much of the Eel River Basin was so rife with Confederate sympathizers they’d secretly organized themselves as a militia to both murder Indians and, when the war kicked off, grab Covelo and much of inland Mendo and Humboldt for the grand cause of slavery. Lincoln sent soldiers to ensure that these fine fellows were unable to make their move, but wasn’t able to prevent the near-annihilation of native peoples. A few years later, Mendo-based political figures got a state law passed that permitted white ranchers to “indenture” Indians for periods of up to 15 years. Is a kid better off not knowing this stuff, or is he more likely to be instructed and inclined not to allow injustice when he meets it?)

ON THE SUBJECT name changes, former supervisor Norman deVall, writes: “If you send a letter to Noyo 95437 for any Ft. Bragg address it gets where you want it to go. Same for Westport 95437. Caspar has its own zip code: 95420. The Town of Mendocino morphed into the Village of Mendocino. The town of Little Lake became Willits. Why not start using: Noyo 95437?”

ANOTHER HISTORY NOTE: A Valley old timer writes: "The Ice House in Wendling was at one time a meat market that supplied meat for the town of Wendling. The guy who owned the meat store was called Pig Butcher in Boontling. They had to have ice for the preservation of the meat, thus the Ice House moniker. Jeff Burroughs wrote a funny story about some of the happenings during that time. I would never have known much about Wendling if he had not written the story about Pig Butcher trying to herd the pigs from Cloverdale to Wendling, which is really entertaining." 

MONDAY EVENING about 7:30, a 911 caller reported "50 to 100" shots fired in Covelo in the area of Crawford Road and Biggar Lane. Sheriff's deputies and tribal police sped to the scene where, according to Sheriff Kendall, they found “a large-scale marijuana grow with numerous hoop houses.” A couple of fun-loving pot planters were briefly detained but, as the Sheriff put it, “no bodies and no blood.” An investigation is ongoing.

A READER COMMENTS: "Hah, three different firearms. Sounded like a war zone. But maybe it was just a celebratory burst to kick off the festivities now that Sheriff’s Deputy Trent James is leaving. He has had enough. Not enough real support, a job that must be just delightful, and then he gets accused by a certain segment (I name no names) of “harassment” when he does horrible, brutal things like recover stolen goods from the perps by going to see them and saying okay, guys, c’mon – just hand the stuff over. Tsk, tsk! This song certainly sounds familiar, doesn’t it? He was smart, he was effective and he was chill. He possessed integrity and was dedicated to helping the community. For a law enforcement officer, that can get you in deep water here, it would seem. Jesus Christ. Talk about the Village of the Damned. Well, shit. I get it, Trent. You do what you have to do, man. And you will be missed. As for Round Valley – oh, hey, it’s time to par-TAY! Are you listening, Sheriff Kendall?"

I'M SURE the Sheriff is listening. He's a native of Covelo and, I daresay, as unhappy as the next Covelo resident with the criminal takeover of the area. One small example of what Covelo people are living with is Negie Fallis, the one and only suspect in the kidnapping and likely murder of Khadijah Britton. 

Negie Fallis

The guy should have been suppressed years ago, but here he is out of jail again after a conviction on matters unrelated to Ms. Britton, driving around Covelo with a gun and a crack pipe like he was mayor. There are way too many unreconstructed felons in the Covelo area; factor in the green rush crooks also infesting Round Valley and, well, good luck, Covelo. Keep your guns handy.

WHERE'S THE DA? This guy Fallis abducts Ms. Britton at gunpoint, in front of witnesses, and he's not prosecuted for kidnapping? Isn't kidnapping a major felony that gets people 50 years in prison? If the DA's secretary was dragged out of his office with a gun to her head and never seen again, would he prosecute?

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(Sheriff’s Presser)

Public Outreach on Evacuation Planning Project

Location: Zoom Public Forum

Password 924390

Sheriff Matt Kendall and the Mendocino County Fire Chiefs Association President, Chief Sue Carberry, are pleased to announce the development of three new planning documents that will significantly improve the wildfire safety of Mendocino County residents. At the request of the County and funded with a Caltrans grant, the Mendocino Council of Governments hired Category Five Professional Consultants, Inc. (CFPC) to develop a Public Outreach Plan, a Fire Vulnerability Assessment, and a Wildfire Emergency Evacuation Preparedness Plan. At the onset of the project, a Technical Advisory Group was formed comprised of technical experts and community stakeholders including local fire chiefs, law enforcement, government and tribal representatives, and the Mendocino County Fire Safe Council. Planning that occurred is as follows:

Public Outreach Plan (POP)

The goal of this outreach initiative was to understand the community’s concerns regarding a wildfire threat and an emergency evacuation, increase the community’s awareness of the wildfire risk, encourage residents to take steps to protect themselves, their family and property, and improve their knowledge of evacuation planning. In November of 2019, CFPC conducted a widely advertised online survey to solicit public concern regarding the local fire threat and evacuation fears and to gain insight into the diverse needs of various communities and groups residing within the County.

Fire Vulnerability Assessment (FVA)

A Fire Vulnerability Assessment was developed for Mendocino County which identifies County areas and populations that are most vulnerable to wildfire and provides recommendations on how to best improve the County’s existing strategies and practices. The ultimate goal of the FVA is to prevent loss of life, minimize property damage caused by wildfires, and reduce recovery effort spending.

Emergency Evacuation Preparedness Plan

The Emergency Evacuation Preparedness Plan describes the strategies for managing evacuations which exceed the day-to-day capabilities of the various public safety agencies in Mendocino County. This plan has the ancillary benefit of being applicable to non-fire related threats as well. The planners developed 35 preparedness recommendations and an action plan that identifies the responsible agencies, funding sources and target completion dates. These completed plans bring Mendocino County significantly closer to reducing their wildfire risk to residents and property while also providing clear and concise guidelines for first responder agencies when an emergency evacuation is needed.

Public Invited

On Monday, June 22^nd at 10 am, the public is invited to join a Zoom Public Forum where CFPC in conjunction with MCOG and local public safety officials will share the planning that has occurred, in addition to wildfire and emergency evacuation preparedness and safety tips. Please visit the Mendocino Council of Governments website,, for participation options, or use the following link with Password 924390:

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CATCH OF THE DAY, June 9, 2020

Armas-Farias, Garcia-Campos, Gardner

SEVERIANO ARMAS-FARIAS, Covelo. Pot cultivation, pot possession for sale. 

OSVALDO GARCIA-CAMPOS, Covelo. Pot cultivation, pot possession for sale. 

ROBERT GARDNER II, Potter Valley. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, stolen vehicle, ammo possession by prohibited person.

Hernandez-Najera, Peters, Ramirez

RUBEN HERNANEZ-NAJERA, Pescadero/Covelo. Pot cultivation, pot possession for sale. 

JESSE PETERS, Little River. County parole violation.

ANGEL RAMIREZ, Sacramento/Covelo. Pot cultivation, pot possession for sale. 

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WASH $1.25 DRY 25¢

by Doug Holland (October, 1997)

(San Francisco) It’s an automatic laundromat in the slums. Looks like any other laundry, because it is like any other laundry — full of uninteresting people doing their wash and dry. As Bounce™ fabric softeners pile up on the floor all day, along with wads of gum, chicken bones from the nearby KFC, used condoms (I don’t want to know), spilled beer, etc., you’d think nobody works there at all. But automation hasn’t yet downsized the common janitor.

That’s me, part-time sweep-up schmuck at the coin laundry. The dump closes at 11:00, last wash is 10:00, and I mean it — if you start your wash at 10:15, you’re going to be taking wet clothes home with you, ‘cause I’m not sticking around till your laundry’s done.

When I get there, 10pm or so, the place is a catastrophe, because other than the slobbish customers, nobody’s been there since I opened the doors at 6am. You’re lucky if you can see the faded 1950s checkerboard pattern on the tiled floor. I pick up the garbage, scrub the washers (squishing a few of the roaches that live in the machinery), empty lint from the dryers, mop the floor and et cetera until 11:15 or so. Then I lock the door, and whether your clothes are wet or dry, it’s everybody out, ‘cause I’m headed for home, to get sleep quick as I can. Gotta be back at 6:00 the next morning to unlock the place and promptly leave, to let another day’s mess accumulate.

The pay is lousy, and so’s the work, but at least there’s no boss breathing down my neck. As with any job, though, it’s the people that make it special.

I’m scrubbing dried detergent off the tops of 24 washing machines, while a herd of obnoxious children are yelling and running through the place. I’m trying to guess which adult might be responsible for these kids, gnawing at my nerves. There’s a man sitting oblivious with headphones on, bopping his empty skull, and I figure that’s Daddy. So I sloppily wipe down the chair next to his, lightly splashing his pants. He doesn’t seem to notice, damn it.

Then it’s back to washing the washers, till a woman turns toward me, accusation in her voice. “Do you have a problem?” she demands.

I think but don’t say, I have lots of problems, lady. You want a list?

“I want to know why you’re glaring at my children.”

Moi? Glaring at your loud little noise- and mess-makers? 

“Well, why do you think I’m glaring? Your kids are utterly out of control! Why don’t you make ‘em fuckin’ shut up for two goddamn minutes? Maybe then I’ll stop glaring.”

“I’m going to call the owner and tell him how rude you are!”

“Call this,” and I give her an ancient salute. The owner’s phone number is written in letters a foot tall, a sign on the wall. By all means: tell him how rude I am, if he hasn’t already heard. And while you’re at it tell him what a crappy mother you are.

She hollers more and more, on and on, but she’s never half as loud her ugly offspring. The kids are playing tag now, running under the folding tables, bashing into loaded laundry carts. I fill my mop bucket with hot soapy water, and start on the section of floor where they’re running.

I’m emptying lint traps. And ya know, if anyone reading this needs a steady supply of lint, just say so. You could make several sweaters out of just one day’s accumulation of laundry lint.

A kinda frumpy but not totally unattractive woman approaches me, softly coughs and says, “Excuse me.” I ignore her, so she says it again. “Excuse me?”


I’m not terribly sociable.

“Do you need any help?” she asks.


“Would you like someone to start sweeping?”

“Uh…” I never have my wits about me when I’m working. Wits aren’t required for this job. 

“Um, I get paid for this. It ain’t much, but it’s my job.” 

“I don’t need any money. I just want to be a help.”


What the …? She’s volunteering to do my job for nothing? 

“Lady, it’s my job. I’m the janitor.” 

Like, I should sit over there and read Ladies’ Home Journal while you do my work for me?

“Sorry,” she says, walking back to check on her laundry. Being my normal not-so-bright self, it’s ten minutes later before the thought hits me that she might have been hitting on me. Was her offer some sort of twisted pass? That’s all I can figure…

Last night, one of the washers was full of Rice-A-Roni, like someone had put five quarters in the slot and then poured in a box of the so-called San Francisco Treat. The stuff was still warm as I fished it out with my fingers and tossed it in the trash. What a waste of food, when there are always hundreds of people going hungry within just a few blocks!

There’s a regular customer, a once-a-week washer, who always wants to talk to me. Nice enough little old lady, but I’m not much of a talker, and she has a speech impediment that makes understanding difficult. So I mostly just nod a lot, letting her talk, but barely listening.

Well, one night, she comes in crying, stuffs her sheets and undies into a machine, and starts telling me her troubles. Like I’m her bartender, her shrink or something. But with her speech impediment, when she’s blubbering and choking up, it’s almost impossible to make sense of what she’s saying. She’s saying something about a terrible car wreck, but I can’t make sense of her next several sentences. Someone’s dead, dead, and she was so young, and it’s so sad, and so on. Near as I can figure, the old lady’s daughter, or maybe grand-daughter, is now roadkill. I offer my sincerest condolences, but basically just try to keep my distance. There’s floor to be mopped.

It’s only the next morning, as I glance at the front page of the paper, that I finally understand what she was bawling about: Princess Di has left us. And a little old lady, doing her laundry in San Francisco, wept in remembrance of someone she’d never met — alcoholic party-girl ex-wife of the inbred impotent son of a doddering figurehead queen of a tiny, long-since faded nation thousands of miles away. Just typing about it makes me all misty-eyed, too.

Often we get defeated-looking mothers doing the family wash, with their daughters in tow. And if the kids are older than toddlers, they’re almost always daughters — moms never bring their sons to the laundry after about age 5 or 7. It’s early indoctrination.

There’s one housewife who brings her daughter, a girl well into adolescence, old enough to trigger a man’s imagination (or at least, a lesser man than I), and the kid wears only her pajamas. The rest of her wardrobe is presumably in the wash, but if you ask me, pajamas in public are a little out of line when a girl’s 12 or 14 years old.

No matter what they’re wearing, though, kids that age — kids any age — are always unpleasant. Especially girls, and especially if there’s more than one. Chatter and giggle, giggle and chatter, chatter and giggle.

And then there’s Punk Woman. She’s a good-looking purple-haired dame, who does her laundry every other Tuesday night. So those are the nights I come in early, Punk Woman always shows up with a small sack of clothes, dumps everything into a washer, then apathetically peels off her blouse, unsnaps and drops her pants, and puts them in the washer too. Wearing just a bra and boxer shorts, she sprinkles Tide on her load, inserts her quarters, then sits on a plastic chair and reads a novel. Half an hour later she’ll get up and transfer her clothes into a dryer, and 45 minutes after that, she’ll put on some hot, clean clothes, cram everything else back into her bag, and disappear into the night.

With her boyfriend, of course, Bruno, I think — he seems like a Bruno. Big and tough. You need a Bruno on your arm if you’re going to do a strip tease at the laundry.

Of course, it’s not all half-dressed gorgeous babes and junior high girls ready for a slumber party. This is a seedy neighborhood, so we get white trash, and trash of all colors. Guys in their early 20s, talking about football or women, and always talking twice as loud as necessary — because they’re men, damn it. Old immigrant ladies. Middle-aged married couples who never should’ve gotten married. Stinky homeless people. And none of them slow my mopping.

In a laundry, when little kids scream and scream, the noise only echoes and amplifies itself. A laundry, after all, is just a big enclosed hallway with metal walls and no windows — loud children can get really loud, and then louder, and of course the louder kids always have the deafest parents.

I don’t hate all kids, just the loud, screaming, poorly behaved ones — which, now that I think of it, seems to be all kids. And I especially hate their parents. Why must these people inflict their children on the world at large? 

If people want to bring more people into this overcrowded world, well, that’s their choice. but until babies are born with volume knobs, or just the ability to not scream in public, it seems pretty damned rude to bring the noise everywhere you go. Hell, if I wanted to be a drummer, I wouldn’t take my drum set with me on the bus. I wouldn’t bring my drums to a movie theater. I wouldn’t set up the drums and start playing ‘em at the laundromat.

Maybe one night at the laundry I’ll snap, and stuff some whiny screaming little kid into a Speed Queen dryer. Pay a quarter to watch him tumble dry.

Hey, I’m just kidding! (Have to say I’m just kidding, or I’ll be the primary suspect when some toddler is found dead in a coin-op dryer…) Yes, of course, I find the concept of child abuse abhorrent. I’d be content to put the parents in the dryers, give the kids a quarter for bus fare, and watch them get on (or under) the next passing 27 Bryant.

It’s ten after 11:00, the laundry is closed and there’s nobody there except me. The doors are still open, though — it gets hot and I get sweaty if I lock up before I’m done cleaning.

Somebody left a half-full bottle of grape soda on the soap machine, so I stop outside and pour it on the curb. During the 20 seconds I’m on the sidewalk, two young men walk into the laundromat, but so what? People always come in after we’re closed, to use the phone or the change machine, or just to sit. In this crappy neighborhood, I actually feel a little safer with someone, anyone, inside. So I never boot people out till I’m ready to lock up and leave. 

The two guys are huddled in front of one of the washers, next to a garbage can. I walk toward them, just to toss the empty pop bottle in the trash can next to that machine, when one of the guys turns around to face me in a phony but serious ju jitsu pose. 

“What are you doing?” he yells. “What do you want?”

That’s when I notice that the other man is holding a wad of cash inside the washer — several hundred dollar bills. Easily more money than I’ll earn this month.

“Hey, relax,” I say, nonchalantly tossing the bottle and walking away. “I’m just the janitor. I don’t care.” 

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George said “I can’t breathe.”

As long as he couldn’t breathe,

How can we breathe now?

—Jim Luther

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On behalf of the California Conference of Local Health Officers (CCLHO), we would like to offer our partnership and support to Mendocino County in the search of a permanent local public health officer.

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(photo by Randy Burke)

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by Dave Zirin

The NFL season, come pandemic or revolution, will almost certainly begin this fall—and it is going to be “put up or shut up” time for the league’s white players. Here’s the reality: Many black players will be taking a knee during the national anthem to protest police violence and racial inequity. After a remarkable video made by black NFL players condemning the league’s tepid support for the Black Lives Matter protests, Roger Goodell said in a video statement, among other things, “We, the National Football League, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest.”

Whether Goodell made this speech to head off a players’ revolt in a league that is 70 percent black or for some other reason is an interesting query. But whatever you make of Goodell’s sincerity, there is no mistaking his intention: to admit that there should be no punitive or even rhetorical action condemning players for taking that knee in the future. Even if you are as put off as I am with Goodell’s inability to admit that Colin Kaepernick was forced out of the league and denied the ability to earn a living because of his protest, the line the NFL commissioner is drawing is clear: No longer will he cower behind the shield, caring more about Donald Trump’s Twitter finger than the demands of the league’s players to dissent.

Sure enough, Trump—always seeking an opportunity to use the NFL as his own personal racist and nationalistic football—put out a tweet saying:

“Could it be even remotely possible that in Roger Goodell’s rather interesting statement of peace and reconciliation, he was intimating that it would now be O.K. for the players to KNEEL, or not to stand, for the National Anthem, thereby disrespecting our Country & our Flag?”

The answer is that Goodell was more than intimating. He was giving Trump a tentative, quivering middle finger, yet a middle finger nonetheless. Now, pardon the sports mixed metaphor, the ball is in the player’s court. To put a finer point on it, it is in the white players’ court.

In 2016 and ’17 many white players made clear that they did not believe people should “disrespect the flag” during the anthem, as if that is what Kaepernick was doing. Only after Trump called the protesting players “sons of bitches” who should be kicked out of the sport did we see white players kneel, and that was done with the approval of ownership. It was staged, and it had far more to do with standing up to Trump than solidarity with black lives taken by police violence or allyship with their black teammates. This is a far different moment. White players like Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz have made eloquent statements in support of their black teammates while recognizing their own privilege. Other white NFL players have made their own statements of solidarity. The Denver Broncos and Jacksonville Jaguars teams and coaches even marched in the protests. But the proof of the pudding is going to be whether their knees hit the ground the first time that anthem plays. No hands on shoulders, no linked arms, no raised fists, but actually taking the weight and scrutiny off their black teammates by taking a knee.

As Full Dissidence author Howard Bryant said to me, “The kneeling gesture is the spot where America comes apart, where all the post-9/11 pro-police messaging and militarism at sporting events collides with the reality of the cops and military. In no other element of our culture is there such a clear and defiant single gesture like taking a knee. Where else are we allowed the space to say we disagree with our police? Where else can we register with one gesture, dissent with the alleged ideals of this country? America is getting called out with this one gesture and they are determined to punish anyone using it.”

Take the knee, white players. That will show that this is more than just performative anti-racism, more than just tweets and Instagram statements, more than just fear of alienating your teammates. It’s time to show true allyship and demonstrate in practice that all the rhetoric about a football team’s being family isn’t bullshit. Take the knee to show Donald Trump and the world that you will not be divided. Take the knee as a way to say once and for all that black lives do in fact matter.

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Every year, American police officers have about 370 million contacts with civilians. Most of the time nothing happens, but 12 to 13 million times a year, the police make an arrest. How often does this lead to the death of an unarmed black person? We know the number thanks to a detailed Washington Post database of every killing by the police. What is your guess as to the number of unarmed blacks killed by the police every year? One hundred? Three hundred? Last year, the figure was nine.

That number is going down, not up. In 2015, police killed 38 unarmed blacks. In 2017, 21. What about white people? Last year, police killed 19 unarmed whites, in addition to the 9 unarmed blacks. We know the number of black and white people arrested every year, so it is possible to make an interesting calculation. The chances of being unarmed, arrested, and then killed by the police are higher for whites than for blacks. For both races, it’s very rare: One out of 292,000 arrests for blacks, and out of 283,000 arrests for whites. This is hardly what we would expect from the way the media report these deaths.”

I recommend this article to any of that handful of people in Amnesia …sorry, America …today who are interested in actual facts.

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In its mission to squeeze the last profits out of newspapers, Alden Global Capital has eliminated the jobs of scores of reporters and editors, and decimated journalism in cities all over the country.

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  1. Craig Stehr June 10, 2020

    Following an hour of Daoist Music and fingering the black onyx beads and watching the mind conjure up thoughts which disappeared, arose from the bed and walked across the street to the 7-11 for a fish & rice wrapped in seaweed musubi, two rice mochi balls filled with red bean paste, and then returned to the room to pour a can of Arizona brand Black & White iced tea over ice cubes in my “big gulp” plastic drinking cup. Clearly, the question of what is my individual and what is our collective mission on earth, needs to be understood.
    I have no further reason to be in Hawaii. I mean, it is relatively comfortable and relaxing to be on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean; being here has afforded a perfect opportunity to concentrate on observing the world while trusting the inner vision. The body is in good shape. The mind observes the world, while the thoughts arise and dissipate. And the spiritual core of light glows. This reminds me of the old zen riddle: “Now that you are enlightened, what are you going to do?” Indeed, what are we all going to do? What’s the higher mission? Does anybody know?
    The alternative travel hostel here would like me to pay another $200 on Thursday, which if I pay will reduce my checking account to under $100; there’s still $300 in Hawaii SNAP for June. But this is not the important issue. Survival has never particularly interested me. I find the subject kind of nuts. However, the subject of what is my individual and our collective purpose on earth, is most important. If you find out before I do, let me know. ?

    Craig Louis Stehr
    Snail Mail: P.O. Box 235670, Honolulu, HI 96823
    No Phone

    • Bruce Anderson June 10, 2020

      Rum raisin ice cream, Craig, the key to happiness.

  2. James Marmon June 10, 2020


    Not very many people still around that can say they were born in that building, I was. July 4th 1954.

    James Marmon

  3. Lazarus June 10, 2020

    Found Object

    “Burn down the mission
    If we’re gonna stay alive
    Watch the black smoke fly to heaven
    See the red flame light the sky”…

    Elton John, Lyrics, Bernie Taupin 1970.

    Be safe,

  4. burnunit June 10, 2020

    I too was born at Ukiah General on Thanksgiving Day, 1954.

  5. Lynne Sawyer June 10, 2020

    Anyone have a picture of the station wagon Carl Kinion used to drive as the Valley ambulance?

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