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MCT: Sunday, June 14, 2020

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MILD AND DRY conditions are expected in most areas today through Tuesday, although some very light rain will be possible in Del Norte and Humboldt counties Monday and Tuesday. Much warmer conditions are expected in interior areas Wednesday through the end of the week, with no rain expected. (NWS)

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by Mark Scaramella

Anyone visiting downtown Ukiah lately came away surprised. "What the heck is going on?" A major traffic disruption is going on, major traffic disruption that will go on for some time.

Grandly entitled the "Ukiah Streetscape Project," “Phase One" of the project is expected to last until some time in mid-summer, and will include “replacing all water and sewer utilities beneath State Street between the cross streets of Mill Street to Henry Street, and on Perkins and Standley between State Street and School Streets.” 

Phase One also involves “conduit installation for all of the existing overhead utility services including electric, telephone, and cable.” 

Phase Two consists of lane reconfiguration, i.e., narrowing, widened sidewalks, pedestrian bulb-outs, trees, lighting and furnishings, all of which is “anticipated to begin mid- to late summer.”

The project also includes a controversial “road diet” on State Street between Henry Street and Mill Street that will “transform [sic] the existing four-lane cross section into a three-lane cross section with one travel lane in each direction and a two way left-turn lane in the center with on-street parking maintained.”

The prospect that downtown Ukiah’s primary traffic artery will have its through-lanes reduced from four to two has understandably produced a number of complaints over the last few months, which the Ukiah City Council has duly ignored.

“In addition to the road diet,” the City continues, “signal modifications will be made at each of the three signalized [sic] intersections (Standley Street, Perkins Street, and Mill Street) to provide vehicle detection [?], improve coordination and re-orient the signal equipment to support the road diet alignment. This work will also include a pavement overlay, striping, and pavement markings.”

We looked at a number of on-line sources and could not find the schedule of the project (which we also found suspicious). So we emailed Deputy City Manager Shannon Riley who is listed as the project’s contact person:

“Yes, it is definitely underway!,” promptly replied Riley. “The original project plans described the phases as the different geographical areas of the project, but that was prior to including the reconstruction of the underground utilities in the project. Therefore, more recently, we have explained that the project is happening in two phases—the first phase is the underground utility replacement (happening now), which will be followed by the second phase, the surface improvements (sidewalks, asphalt, traffic signals, landscaping, etc.) The utility work will be completed later this summer, and the beginning of the surface improvements will overlap a bit, starting at about the beginning of August. The entire project is expected to be complete next spring/summer, depending on weather.”

So work will continue for at least a year after which, if things work out ok — who knows what they’ll discover when they dig up the underground utilities? — State Street will be half its current traffic capacity downtown. Meanwhile, Ukiah can get used to the reduced number of lanes during the construction — oh, and to ensure congestion, traffic lights are blinking red four-way stops. This move has resulted in “We are seeing far too many people run through these intersections without stopping. As a result, we have temporarily closed the crosswalk at State and Standley for the safety of pedestrians.”

“Through traffic will be maintained on State Street, but will be reduced to two lanes with limitations to parking on South State Street between Church Street and Henry Streets. Additionally, there will be closures to through-traffic on Henry, Standley, and Perkins Streets and intermittent disruptions on Church Street with one-way traffic only.”

Supervisor John McCowen, who owns property in the construction zone, told the Ukiah Daily Journal a few weeks ago that despite the complaints, he saw many benefits to the project, even to the downtown businesses, but first they had to “survive the construction phase, so I hope some thought will be given to: how do we make sure that we’re minimizing the impact to the businesses. If issues arise, who is their point of contact to intercede with the contractor to minimize any issues that could be accommodated?”

The project is among the largest in the county seat in some time. It is being funded by about $2.3 million in “grants,” plus about $1 million of Measure Y (a Ukiah-only road sales tax increment) funds, and will still need about $3.8 million more as of February. Ukiah Public Works Director Tim Eriksen said, “For that we’re planning on using our gas tax funds, about $1.5 million, and the utilities will be paying for prior disturbances of the asphalt,”

In other words, gas tax money that should go to fixing Ukiah’s crumbling downtown streets is being siphoned off to REMOVE two of downtown Ukiah’s busiest street lanes at great cost and huge inconvenience to the businesses in the area.

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LAUREN’S RESTAURANT: Great Take Out & Outdoors Tables

Our refurbished walk-in refrigerator is running again & filled up with good food. (Lauren christened the walk-in on its first day!)

So we’re open again with our Take Out Menu being served Tuesday thru Saturday, 4 to 8 o'clock. (Olga's Mexican Menu on Mondays) Our take out food can now be eaten at our socially distanced outside tables, with more outside space coming soon.

895-3869. Curbside pick up available, please request when ordering. Complete dinner menu can be found at

To-go Beer & Wine can also be purchased at retail prices.

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Our Supervisor, Ted Williams, said that the county would really like everyone to get tested for Covid 19, but that so few people are doing it, that if it doesn’t pick up very soon, the testing people will move their operation to another county! If everyone possible got tested, we could see if we have “community spread”, as in, a bunch of people are asymptomatic, but are positive for the virus and could conceivably spread it, or we could see that we really do have a very “clean” county. Bill and I went Tuesday and got tested. Our results are not yet back, but we want to encourage you to make an appointment and go. You do it on-line at "” (I put the 1st 3 letter in capitals so you could tell what they are, but use small letters on your computer):

Testing is available Tuesday-Saturday, 7am - 7pm. It only takes a few minutes. It’s at the Fairgrounds in Ukiah - combine your test with getting your groceries or whatever. There were so few people there when we went, that there was ZERO waiting! I really hope more people get tested, it seems important to know if you are okay or could be unknowingly passing the illness on to others. Whether we are negative or positive, we plan to keep wearing our masks when in public. More than 2,000 people a day in California are coming down with symptoms and testing positive!

If you do not have computer access, you can make an appointment on the phone - 1-888-634-1123.

Oh, and there is no charge.

If all of us test negative, maybe we could have a meeting! outside, with social distancing, and masks...

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(photo by Angela DeWitt)

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CAMPING IN STATE PARKS within Mendocino County to open June 22nd

California State Parks continues to work with the Mendocino County Health Officer on a phased approach to increase access at park units where compliance with state and local public health ordinances can be achieved. The current shelter in place order allows for 75% occupancy of campgrounds providing a number of safety precautions are taken. A webpage was created for visitors to learn about the state parks allowing camping and the visitor guidelines. Visitors can go to to learn about the guidelines and how to make reservations. 

Governor Newsom's Stay-at-Home order continues to ask Californians to stay close to home, maintain physical distancing and avoid congregating with others outside their immediate household. The operations of the park system have been modified to provide an outdoor experience that reduces the risk of exposure to COVID-19 and modifications at each park may vary. The department continues to advise the public to plan ahead-check the webpage of their local outdoor destination before leaving home to find out if it is open, what new guidelines are in effect and if parking is available. 


Loren M. Rex

Chief Ranger - Sonoma-Mendocino Coast District

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I just read General Petraeus’s article in the Atlantic on June 9 disparaging Braxton Bragg, the cashiered loser of the Battle of Chattanooga fighting for slavery, and a local Indian killer. I have heard that there is a move afoot to finally change Fort Bragg’s name to either Noyo, California or Noyo Harbor California. We are very lucky to have already such a beautiful historical American Indian name as Noyo. I personally would add to that the romantic glory of the sea and our local family-owned fishing culture by adding Harbor to the name. I personally like Noyo Harbor, California. Noyo California would be great but Noyo Harbor California might be even better. What's your preference? Stay tuned.

A friend of mine was chuckling when he joined me for a walk yesterday on the headlands. He found it hilarious that the self-styled "libertarians" parading with their guns like last week in the legislative chambers in Minnesota proudly displaying their MAGA hats and Confederate flags have come face-to-face with the fact that psychopath Donnie (not John Galt) Trump is the one who wants to sic the federal government, the military no less, on the citizens of the Republic, including them, if only he could. That's liberty by golly, just you wait. Generally speaking mindnumb cultists are too dumb to know they are numb. Sad.

Name withheld


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SHERIFF MATT KENDALL is about to do something that has needed doing for decades. On Tuesday the Sheriff told the Supervisors:

"We have spoken with the presiding judge and the presiding judge will assign a judge to the courtroom at the jail to do 100% of the in-custodys. If we build the courtroom correctly we can do everything but jury trials. For any kind of hearing we can bring witnesses, based on the building capacity. We have a plan in place to do one at a time and leave the rest [of the defendants] in a holding area. That should keep the number of spectators down if people are there to just watch one case, then when that case is over the next one moves in and different spectators come in. We have a buy-in from the presiding judge that it will be used. The cost will be offset by how much it costs us to move prisoners in the county jail to the courts in Fort Bragg and Ukiah and back. … We are currently working on a memorandum of understanding. We are just waiting to make sure I can secure the funding from the local police chiefs. I should know that this month. Then we would get with the facilities staff and start with the plans and have a formal agreement after that. … I am in negotiation with the police chiefs so that I don't have to use any general fund money for this. We have some money that was put away by the Chiefs Association and the Sheriff's Office has put away a huge portion of it. I am in negotiations with them to let me remove my portion to be able to get this done. This is not the time to try to reach into the County’s general fund for things like this. If we have a way to do this without causing any pain for the county then we are saving on both sides. … I have already spoken with the facilities staff and they have drawn up some preliminary plans. I don't think it would take long, maybe two months, so I hope this would be up and running by September or October. I will find out about the funding at the next Chiefs meeting." 

I BELIEVE it was the late sixties when the jail on top of the County Courthouse was closed, and Low Gap Road, two-plus miles from the Courthouse, became the site of the County Jail, and ever since there's been an expensive logistics nightmare of driving inmates back and forth from Low Gap to central Ukiah for court appearances, this fifty-year fiasco supported by the superior court judges. Along comes Sheriff Kendall and at last we have a commonsense break through — arraignments, prelims and all the rest of routine matters convened at the jail itself.

MARK SCARAMELLA ADDS: So with this breakthrough tell me again why we need nine judges, nine courtrooms and all of them soon to be housed over at the railroad tracks in an ugly new luxurious $100 million courthouse which does not accommodate any of the ancillary offices including probation, district attorney, public defender, etc.

MAJOR SILLINESS is about to grip Fort Bragg as momentum grows among the virtue platoons for re-naming the town. I was glad to see mayor Will Lee short cut what would certainly be hours of public time taken up with righteous, and historically ignorant, speeches about what a bad man Braxton Bragg was and why his evil memory should be eradicated by re-annointing Fort Bragg more in keeping with Joe Biden. This is the town previously ripped off by an enterprising lawyer who discovered that an errant law about ethnic equity applied to the unsuspecting seaside town, and if FB didn't pay up to ensure justice for its already thoroughly integrated Hispanic community, well, it would cost a lot more. (The opportunistic legal eagle apparently didn't want to take on Ukiah where the Hispanic community is confined to the town's south end.)

THIS KIND of thing, this history re-write, is dangerous because obliterating the true history of a place, or this country for that matter, we can't have an accurate idea of who we are and what we came from, and why and how it works now. Braxton Bragg, and Fort Bragg, were established to protect Indians, not murder them. Nope, didn't work out, but that's what's unique about our country — despite its crime-drenched lineage here we are more or less intact. Until now, as the final test of the bloody experiment plays out in a three-pronged assault on it — plague, economic collapse and civil insurrection.

ON THE OTHER HAND, as showbiz’s Taylor Swift put it, “Villains don’t deserve statues,” as she demanded that Tennessee remove memorials to the KKK’s first Grand Wizard Nathan Bedford Forrest and pro-lynching newspaper editor Edward Carmack.

SHE'S RIGHT. All those monuments to the Confederacy and its traitorous leaders ought to be packed up and stored in a museum basement somewhere. But a hesitant defense of Forrest, and a fact of his mostly lamentable life, requires that people should know he died a deathbed liberal, regretting his racist past.

BUT A LOT of the history cleansers are the same people who dependably want to ban books, people, ideas they don't approve of. 

THIS FACT startled me mucho: "Saint-Domingue, where slavery was abolished in 1793, was arguably the only French dominion in which the 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen was implemented. It declared its independence as Haiti did in 1804. In 1825, as reparation for the insolence of freedom, France obliged the new nation to transfer to the French state and former plantation owners 'the equivalent of 15 percent of its national product every year, indefinitely, simply to pay the interest on the debt without even beginning to pay down the principal.' Haiti was still paying in the 1950s, when the debt was finally cancelled. But by then it had been devastated by vicious postcolonial political and economic forces." — The Inequality Engine, by Geoff Mann

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Your paper is the last in-print newspaper I will ever receive! Going on many years, I have been paying $60 a year for the Sebastopol paper which is a royal piece of crap. No more! The Chron? The PD? Yuck! I always look forward to Washburne. And Philbrick is something else. I have to see what new bogosity he will spew. Please don't die! Keep the name of good reporting alive even if we all die of the virus.

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Stagecoach In Ferndale July 24, 1889. (Photo from the David Heller Palmquist Collection of the Humboldt Room at HSU’s library)

Odd Old News has previously described portions of the earliest North/South stagecoach and wagon road to the North Coast via the Mail Ridge route. This week we share a travelogue written by a passenger who rode the entire distance from Cloverdale to Eureka on the Sanderson Stage Coach line in 1883 on a ‘pleasure trip.’

In 1874 Jonathan Cummings and family moved to the site of a mail carrier station along Rattlesnake Creek where the trail from newly named Laytonville turned north and went uphill to follow the ridgeline dividing the South Fork of the Eel River and the Main Eel River. This mountainous route was originally named the Cahto to Camp Grant trail on the earliest government surveyor PLAT maps. Over time it went by many names but was most commonly known as the Mail Ridge Trail. In 1877, Chinese labor completed the Mendocino County end of the Mail Ridge section of the Cloverdale to Humboldt wagon road and the route was opened for wheeled conveyances.

(Cummings Station was located three miles east of the current location of Cummings on Highway 101. Rebuilt after a 1916 fire as the Cummings Motel, reincarnated later as the Farmhouse Inn, it is currently a private residence. Today’s Bell Springs road leaves Highway 101 a short distance away.)

Historian and author Kathy Tahja shared some early stagecoach passenger etiquette in an article for the Kelley House Making History Blog, “Traveling by Coach” in Mendocino County:

“In 1877, travel tips for stagecoach passengers included doing what the driver told you, as well as getting out and walking when horses faced difficult terrain. Don’t grumble about food served at stage stops. Don’t flop against those seated next to you when you fall asleep. Don’t shoot from the coach as it may frighten the horses. If ladies are present, do not point out locations where robberies and murders have been committed. Don’t discuss religion or politics.”

Seems like good advice for peaceful traveling in any era.

The stagecoach ride travelogue that follows was written six years after the opening of the Mail Ridge Wagon Road by a passenger whose appreciation of the scenery along the route was apparently quite successful in distracting him from the more customary complaints of stage travel—constant bumps, jostling, dust, and inclement weather.

“San Francisco to Eureka Overland

Humboldt Times

June 20, 1883

Times Telephone–The summer season has been opened with great eclat all over the State. But more particularly in San Francisco and among its denizens, Monterey with its Del Monte, Santa Cruz with its pebbly beach, San Diego with its climate, Calaveras with its big trees, Alameda with its baths, Tahoe with its beautiful lake and splendid trout-fishing, and last but not least, the famous Yosemite with its picturesque mountain scenery, its lonely valley, its grand falls, cataracts and rapids, a description of which almost the entire world is acquainted with, attracted the attention of 99 per cent, of all the traveling public, but one per cent, and a small one at that, prepared to take a trip to Humboldt, going by the overland route. By this means it was proposed to have a summer vacation—a pleasure trip – viewing beautiful scenery, etc., all in one, and with the wind up of meeting with friends at home.

In accordance with such desire, full and complete arrangements were made and Thursday morning of last week found us comfortably located on one of Donahue’s cars, bound for Cloverdale, the head center of Sanderson & Co.’s stage line in northern California. In reference to the trip from the city to Cloverdale there is but little to say, as most every one has some knowledge of railroad travel, the familiar sights on the route and the general lay of the Sonoma valley, and there is no need of going over the same ground again. Suffice it to say, the journey was made to Cloverdale without any occurrence worthy of note, save the simple fact that the thermometer stood 102 deg. in the shade and the atmosphere seemingly growing warmer by the minute.

Took dinner, and at 12:30 o’clock were given seats in the Ukiah Stage and fairly on our way. The ride of about 35 miles is through a beautiful country of a mountainous nature, the scenery in some places grand; the road free from dust, and the ride an enjoyable one. In the stage with us were Sisters Josephine and Theresa and Miss Maggie Cummings, for several years connected with the convent in Eureka. They go to Ukiah for the purpose of establishing a school at that point and continuing in the good work which they assume as long as life shall last.

Arrived at Ukiah, remained over night, and Friday morning bright and early, started out in a double carriage, with Doc. Curtis handling the ribbons, bound for Cahto, by this means avoiding the first night ride made by the overland stage, and having an opportunity of viewing all the scenes worthy of inspection. The road to Cahto via Little Lake and Sherwood, is in good condition, and the ride under almost any circumstances is a lovely one, but in this case was particularly delightful, as everything worked to our advantage, the weather being cool and the drive excellent. Speaking of Curtis, for six years he was in the employ of Bullard & Sweasey on the overland road, but now is engaged in the stable and livery business in Ukiah, and fortune seems to smile upon him.

Friday night remained at Bob White’s at Cahto, where we received the best of treatment, and next morning took the stage for Blocksburg. This was the longest and hardest drive to make, but the road running through such a country, such a panorama in the way of scenery which was being constantly presented to one’s vision that the little bumps and warm weather were not noticed, and the time was consumed in surveying the beauties of nature and witnessing the grand scenes that were presented to view. A ride of about 15 miles brings you to Cummings’ place, and from that point the ascent commences over Rattlesnake mountain and up the Big Chemise to Bell’s Springs, near the dividing line between Mendocino and Humboldt counties, where the highest altitude is reached—a height of 3,670 feet above the sea. The stage was stopped and we were allowed a few minutes to gaze upon the grand spectacle seemingly laid out for our particular benefit.

The weather was clear, and to the west could be seen the ocean blue, and ever and anon, the cool sea breeze would fan our cheeks. To the east were the ranges and valleys in Trinity County, while to the south was Sherwood mountain and the Mendocino peaks and ranges; to the north was Humboldt with its rolling and peaked country, green hills and pastures, presenting a strange contrast with the dry country which we had so recently passed over. And seemingly just at our feet was the large range known us Island Mountain, in Trinity, a lofty prominence in reality, but appearing insignificant from our lofty position. Then urging the steeds on, the ride was made to Blocksburg, arriving at 9 o’clock Saturday evening.

Remained with Mr. McLain of the Overland House 24 hours, where we received the kindest of treatment, and on Sunday night made the ride to Strong’s, where breakfast was served, thence to Hydesville and Eureka, arriving at 1 o’clock Monday, probably a little the worse for wear but having enjoyed the trip hugely. To the traveler and business man, and to the ladies especially, it can be said there is no more delightful or pleasant trip to be had in the State than the one overland from Cloverdale to Eureka. It must not be understood from this that all accommodations are equal to those of a Pullman car or in a Palace hotel, but much finer than the average mind conceives and Sanderson & Co. have all details and arrangements down to such a fine point that no mistakes are made and every attention is paid to comfort and convenience.

In no other section of the State other than the Yosemite valley do we believe there is such a grand army of scenery such beautiful views and lovely spectacles as are presented on the overland route, and the day is not far distant when it will be extensively traveled, And the many beautiful features will be known to the outside world. While our thanks are returned to Sanderson &Co. for courtesies extended, it is no more than right or just to say that they are paying particular attention to this route, and hope to make it popular with the traveling public. Their coaches are easy and comfortable, drivers all perfect gentlemen and experts in their particular vocation, the several stations run in the best shape possible, and no money spared to make it a success and popular.”

History word of the day—Eclat: Ostentatious display, publicity.

(Courtesy, Redheaded Blackbelt /

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by Robert B. Roberts

Established in June 11, 1857, Fort Bragg was located about 50 miles south of Cape Mendocino and situated one and a half miles north of tile Noyo River, at the present town of Fort Bragg, Mendocino County. It was established within the Mendocino Indian Reservation for the purpose of both controlling and safeguarding the area's Indians. Established by 1st Lieutenant Horatio Gates Gibson, 3rd Artillery with a detachment from Company M, the post was named for Captain Braxton Bragg, 3rd Artillery, a Mexican War veteran and later a general in the Confederate Army. 

There was a period of agitation to have the post's name changed because of his disaffection but the post retained the name during the Civil War.

In September 1864 many Army units serving in the Humboldt district were ordered south. The steamer Panama left Humboldt Bay October 18, 1864, picked up the Fort Brag g garrison the next day, and arrived at the Presidio of San Francisco on October 20. This constituted the permanent evacuation and abandonment of the post. The Mendocino Indian Reservation was discontinued in March 1866, and tile land opened for settlement several years later.

Remainder of text/pics at:

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The election this year is gonna be a fiasco, regardless of who wins. There will be real chaos, and because of the problems with the coronavirus, the attempt to use mail in ballots, and the general clusterfuck, much turmoil will be caused. Perhaps enough to bring down the whole country. Trump and Biden. When either one of these two dudes starts looking good, there isn’t much hope for the country. Down the road, I think we will have a better understanding of how the Romans felt as they watched the dissolution of their society. 12 years ago I watched the large company that I worked at, slowly rupture and die.

The company made printed circuit boards, and had the second largest plating line in the world, the largest in the US. Former third world manufacturers got as good as we were, and then proceeded to undercut us with much cheaper manufacturing costs. We went down hard. I always thought that when the third world learned to manufacture, our jobs would be on the line, and that turned out to be the case. That helped to create the conditions that have led us to the current nightmare.

There’s no good way out of this mess, and things are gonna get very real and unpleasant in a short period of time. Just like when I watched my company die, I expect to be a front row spectator to the demise of my country, which I never before thought could happen.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, June 13, 2020

Bach, Beardslee, Brown

ERIC BACH, Ukiah. Paraphernalia, threatening a police officer.

MARK BEARDSLEE, Ukiah. Burglary, DUI, getting credit using someone else’s ID, failure to appear, probation revocation.

ZACHARY BROWN, Margate, Florida/Ukiah. DUI, evasion via reckless driving, suspended license.

Cook, Dunsing, Galindo, Lepinski

THOMAS COOK, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation.

NICKOLAS DUNSING, Calpella. Paraphernalia, suspended license, probation revocation.

THOMAS GALINDO, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)

PAUL LEPINSKI, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

Richardson, Salazar, Smart, Waits

KRISTY RICHARDSON, Willits. Domestic abuse.

JULIAN SALAZAR IV, Rio Linda/Ukiah. Controlled substance for sale, community supervision violation, no license. 

SETH SMART, Willits. Taking vehicle without owner’s consent.

JASON WAITS, Willits. Domestic abuse. 

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RACHEL THANKS HER GUEST, a plain-spoken journalista with red hair and no airs. Red is a science writer. She talks about the intersections of covid and civil rights, climate change and climate-change denial, economic apocalypse and pretending it’s not happening. She talks about the abandonment of reason, of plain common sense, of thinking. She is plainly alarmed.

If the virus were a viper, it not only hasn’t bit us yet—it’s not even done coiling up yet.

We have to understand: The fear of extinction is loose among us. People whose survival is dependent on weekly checks cannot imagine themselves actually freezing to death or starving, but they are out of money. Businesses are closed everywhere, and they don’t know if they’ll reopen sooner, later or never. There’s a wildfire in California right now, growing. What in God’s name are we gonna do? If there is still any substance behind “Yankee Ingenuity” and “American Resourcefulness” and the "Can-Do Spirit," we’re about to find out.

We’re finding out right this moment, but we’re in a swoon of over-stimulation (thanks to murder and mass anger), just in time for the traditional embrace of summertime laidbackedness, and it ain’t gonna be pretty. How will we do the Fourth of July?

June 11. The country’s stricken with disease and commercial failure, and the worst wildfire season, ever, has begun in California. Meantime, we have an election coming up that, until now, would have been certain to be a historic one, the Main Event of all Main Events but may hardly hold the front page, with modern scientific logic gone out like the electric grid.

Our more-sensible leaders--Cuomo and Newsom for instance--are under such insufferable pressure from everybody to make-pretend the Plague is over, they're acting against their own council and against everybody's best interest. Reopening. Stripping bare and walking together into the storm. This is a pluralist society. Under certain stresses, that's not good. Any leader, right now, who insisted on doing the smartest things, would wake up no longer a leader--maybe wouldn't wake up. The People are thinking magically, which is to say they're not thinking, in this Time of Hysteria.

We are entering the hysterical zone. We are demonstrating how little progress, in the cognition department, we’ve made in our million-or-so hominid years. It’s pathetic.

Game’s petty much up, kids. I don’t have a clue what’s next. Reread “A Canticle for Leibowitz.” It holds up superbly. Look to your health and survival. Look to your reason. It’s in short supply and unimaginable demand. Covid and Climate are underway. The Depression follows hard upon. All of it fans a bottled-up social explosion--and I have not said “nuclear,” a term that becomes more inevitable as people get desperate. All of these things, these tsunamis, are capable of wrecking everything. The combination of all of them beggars my imagination.

I say all this because The Media won't. They won't tie it all together because they feel like that's shouting "fire" in a crowded theater. They're maybe right, but you have to look clearly, specially now.

— Mitch Clogg 

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The Earl family at Alder Camp on Big River, a rustic camping spot created by the adult children of Jerome and Martha Ford. While they lived elsewhere, members of the Ford clan often brought their children and friends to camp near their hometown of Mendocino. Their favorite was Alder Camp, located below Big Hill near the confluence of Little North Fork and Big River, several miles inland from the coast. (Alice Earl Wilder Collection -- Kelley House Museum)

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“I THOUGHT as a result of the demonstrations of the 1960s that America would learn its lesson, that people would learn how to live together in peace and harmony, that we wouldn’t have to contend with the kind of rampant discrimination and prejudice that we are faced with today.”

He said that although the death of George Floyd was a shocking reminder of how far we have to come, he took hope in the diversity of the protesters across America.

“When we were protesting in the 1960s, we had one white student who demonstrated with us, and that was a rarity,” he said. “But today the demonstrators are people from all walks of life, all races, all religions and the ages go from the very young to the elderly people. The demonstrators look like America and that’s important. As a result of that, I think you will begin to see change happen as never before.” 

— Rodney Hurst

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Scott Simon on Braxton Bragg

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Dear Editor,

San Quentin versus the Coronavirus — until last week the virus had spared the prison population here with the exception of a couple of corrections officers who were turned away at the gate with temperatures. However Chino prison has not been so fortunate. My understanding is there was such an outbreak there that hundreds of men tested positive and nine deaths occurred as of last week. It was so bad men were forced to live in tents on their yard out in direct sun. Someone in the Department of Corrections had the great idea to send 125 of the those exposed men here on May 30. They were transported on a Saturday and put in cells with no power where reception used to be. (Likely the administration's plan all along.) All those men had been supposedly tested some 30 days ago or so at Chino. On Monday, May 31 they were tested again. Many had symptoms and were hospitalized. By June 5, Friday, 11 men had tested positive and by June 2 50 men were moved to the Adjustment Center which was cleared out the day before. Bottom line, the corrections officers now wear full protective face shields, masks and bodysuits. What the hell? Who could have seen this coming? The worst part is North block and West block general population facilities are built for 450 inmates in the air system capacity, the showers, the phones -- all built to house 450 men. We are double celled in 9 x 4 cells built for one. Both buildings are at 880 inmates approximately. No way to socially distance. No fresh air comes in, the lines for food and phones and showers are long. No law library, education, or group movement. No way to do much of anything. We are allowed outside every other day for a few hours and the showers three times a week. Things don't look good. Pray for us.


A Concerned West Block prisoner

San Quentin

PS. All lives matter? The killing of George Floyd is another example of police brutality. These cops are the exception, not the norm. However, the media loves playing the race card. It sells. The issue is that some police use their authority to satisfy their own personal agendas or the agendas of others. It's not just blacks who are abused, it's everyone who is unlucky enough to break the law and encounter one of these nut job cops. America thrives on hate, the media has its own agenda to sell papers, sell commercials, sell stock. The coronavirus has brought us all to our knees, it's allowed the government to dictate everything, our freedom, our income, our food -- total control! Government now uses all this to track us, to surveil our every move, to get us to tell on each other. What happened to everyone being equal? All lives matter? Where is the month of acknowledging all races in history? Why only black or Hispanic or women months? What about everyone else? The cops need to be held accountable, but so do we. We can't loot businesses in the name of getting even. We can't assault others, even cops, in the name of racism or anti-racism. All we are doing is disrespecting the men and women who protect us and the rest of the public. Think about it. Thank you for showing both sides and printing the truth.

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President Trump better do something pretty quick or this whole country will go up in smoke. He needs to call martial law in the blue states and get rid of the blue governors and blue mayors in the blue cities because they are absolute tyrannical, no good anti-American socialist psychotic human beings, and they need to be replaced soon or it will be over. If he keeps screwing around it will be too late. 

This police reform thing is the stupidest thing I've ever heard. What are you supposed to do when you catch a felon doing a crime? Hello sir, how are you sir? Is there anything I can do for you sir? I know you are black but can I help you in any way? Are we supposed to kneel down to the black people and give up everything we've earned in the last 250 years after we set them free? What's going on? What are all these white people kneeling for? Because they are gutless, that's why. They think if they bow down to the black people it will make them heroes. It makes me sick to my stomach. 

What's it going to be, President Trump? Will you let these filthy scumbag liberal rotten pieces of scum get away with murder? Will you run the white people off the face of the earth? You are the president of the United States, man! You better do something! If you do not, you are not my president anymore, that's for damn sure! This is the most horrible thing I ever saw. These cheesy ass rotten scumbags are getting their way, all the little demonstrators and looters are tearing down our monuments. You've got to be kidding me! You better not let this go too long President Trump or you will be run out of town yourself. If you let the Police Department's defunding thing go through it will defund all the police departments. You wait and see, mister. There will be more people killed in the next two years than you have ever dreamt about because I know some civilians who are going to shoot and I mean they are going to shoot a lot, so put that in your pipe and smoke it. I'm almost sorry I've been rooting for you for the last few years President Trump. Do something now! 

The social media and the mainline media is one of our worst enemies we have in the world. They stink, they are rotten, more rotten than rotten eggs, they are liars, they are anti-American, they tell their stories about President Trump even though sometimes maybe he needs a little bit until he shows me he's got some balls. I'm not very excited about President Trump anymore. 

Donald Trump better do something pretty soon.

Jerry Philbrick


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Official portrait of Civil War officer General Braxton Bragg of the Confederate States of America (April 6, 1862)

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Usually, I do not read Mr. Philbrick's letters since he, like Donald Trump, inherited his business and his wealth. My experience is that people speaking from a position of privilege often speak from ignorance. This seems apparent as Mr. Philbrick confuses democracy and fascism in his promulgation of martial law to "Get rid of the liberals and kick them out on their asses.” 

Mr. Philbrick says that we should "Respect the flag, the Constitution, other people's rights, law enforcement, the military, the Bill of Rights and everything else we got from our forefathers… God bless Donald Trump." 

Leaving to one side that our "forefathers" considered slaves (brownish) people to be 3/5's of white and that women didn't count at all, Mr. Philbrick fails to recognize that Donald Trump has totally disrespected the Constitution which includes the Bill of Rights, the recent use of Federal Officers and force to prevent the exercise of 1st Amendment rights. 

By this same action, and so many others, Donald Trump has disrespected other people's rights. By his interference in police matters, as if he has spent his life as they have, in law enforcement, Trump has disrespected them. He has totally disrespected the military, not only by over-ruling their decisions as to court martial, but by using them for purely political purposes. Donald Trump sidestepped the Constitution's emoluments clause in so many ways, so many times, it boggles the mind; think Mar-A-Lago. 

Peter Lit 


PS. It is perhaps worthy of mention that his mentioning the poor people trying to stay in business ignores the real endemic poverty in this country; this is a common trait of persons born into capitalistic privilege. 

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(photo by Angela DeWitt)

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(New York Times Editorial, June 10, 2020)

Yes, We Mean Literally Abolish the Police — Because reform won’t happen.

by Mariame Kaba

(Ms. Kaba is an organizer against criminalization.)

Congressional Democrats want to make it easier to identify and prosecute police misconduct; Joe Biden wants to give police departments $300 million. But efforts to solve police violence through liberal reforms like these have failed for nearly a century.

Enough. We can’t reform the police. The only way to diminish police violence is to reduce contact between the public and the police.

There is not a single era in United States history in which the police were not a force of violence against black people. Policing in the South emerged from the slave patrols in the 1700 and 1800s that caught and returned runaway slaves. In the North, the first municipal police departments in the mid-1800s helped quash labor strikes and riots against the rich. Everywhere, they have suppressed marginalized populations to protect the status quo.

So when you see a police officer pressing his knee into a black man’s neck until he dies, that’s the logical result of policing in America. When a police officer brutalizes a black person, he is doing what he sees as his job.

Now two weeks of nationwide protests have led some to call for defunding the police, while others argue that doing so would make us less safe.

The first thing to point out is that police officers don’t do what you think they do. They spend most of their time responding to noise complaints, issuing parking and traffic citations, and dealing with other noncriminal issues. We’ve been taught to think they “catch the bad guys; they chase the bank robbers; they find the serial killers,” said Alex Vitale, the coordinator of the Policing and Social Justice Project at Brooklyn College, in an interview with Jacobin. But this is “a big myth,” he said. “The vast majority of police officers make one felony arrest a year. If they make two, they’re cop of the month.”

We can’t simply change their job descriptions to focus on the worst of the worst criminals. That’s not what they are set up to do.

Second, a “safe” world is not one in which the police keep black and other marginalized people in check through threats of arrest, incarceration, violence and death.

I’ve been advocating the abolition of the police for years. Regardless of your view on police power — whether you want to get rid of the police or simply to make them less violent — here’s an immediate demand we can all make: Cut the number of police in half and cut their budget in half. Fewer police officers equals fewer opportunities for them to brutalize and kill people. The idea is gaining traction in Minneapolis, Dallas, Los Angeles and other cities.

History is instructive, not because it offers us a blueprint for how to act in the present but because it can help us ask better questions for the future.

The Lexow Committee undertook the first major investigation into police misconduct in New York City in 1894. At the time, the most common complaint against the police was about “clubbing” — “the routine bludgeoning of citizens by patrolmen armed with nightsticks or blackjacks,” as the historian Marilynn Johnson has written.

The Wickersham Commission, convened to study the criminal justice system and examine the problem of Prohibition enforcement, offered a scathing indictment in 1931, including evidence of brutal interrogation strategies. It put the blame on a lack of professionalism among the police.

After the 1967 urban uprisings, the Kerner Commission found that “police actions were ‘final’ incidents before the outbreak of violence in 12 of the 24 surveyed disorders.” Its report listed a now-familiar set of recommendations, like working to build “community support for law enforcement” and reviewing police operations “in the ghetto, to ensure proper conduct by police officers.”

These commissions didn’t stop the violence; they just served as a kind of counterinsurgent function each time police violence led to protests. Calls for similar reforms were trotted out in response to the brutal police beating of Rodney King in 1991 and the rebellion that followed, and again after the killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. The final report of the Obama administration’s President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing resulted in procedural tweaks like implicit-bias training, police-community listening sessions, slight alterations of use-of-force policies and systems to identify potentially problematic officers early on.

But even a member of the task force, Tracey Meares, noted in 2017, “policing as we know it must be abolished before it can be transformed.”

The philosophy undergirding these reforms is that more rules will mean less violence. But police officers break rules all the time. Look what has happened over the past few weeks — police officers slashing tires, shoving old men on camera, and arresting and injuring journalists and protesters. These officers are not worried about repercussions any more than Daniel Pantaleo, the former New York City police officer whose chokehold led to Eric Garner’s death; he waved to a camera filming the incident. He knew that the police union would back him up and he was right. He stayed on the job for five more years.

Minneapolis had instituted many of these “best practices” but failed to remove Derek Chauvin from the force despite 17 misconduct complaints over nearly two decades, culminating in the entire world watching as he knelt on George Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes.

Why on earth would we think the same reforms would work now? We need to change our demands. The surest way of reducing police violence is to reduce the power of the police, by cutting budgets and the number of officers.

But don’t get me wrong. We are not abandoning our communities to violence. We don’t want to just close police departments. We want to make them obsolete.

We should redirect the billions that now go to police departments toward providing health care, housing, education and good jobs. If we did this, there would be less need for the police in the first place.

We can build other ways of responding to harms in our society. Trained “community care workers” could do mental-health checks if someone needs help. Towns could use restorative-justice models instead of throwing people in prison.

What about rape? The current approach hasn’t ended it. In fact most rapists never see the inside of a courtroom. Two-thirds of people who experience sexual violence never report it to anyone. Those who file police reports are often dissatisfied with the response. Additionally, police officers themselves commit sexual assault alarmingly often. A study in 2010 found that sexual misconduct was the second most frequently reported form of police misconduct. In 2015, The Buffalo News found that an officer was caught for sexual misconduct every five days.

When people, especially white people, consider a world without the police, they envision a society as violent as our current one, merely without law enforcement — and they shudder. As a society, we have been so indoctrinated with the idea that we solve problems by policing and caging people that many cannot imagine anything other than prisons and the police as solutions to violence and harm.

People like me who want to abolish prisons and police, however, have a vision of a different society, built on cooperation instead of individualism, on mutual aid instead of self-preservation. What would the country look like if it had billions of extra dollars to spend on housing, food and education for all? This change in society wouldn’t happen immediately, but the protests show that many people are ready to embrace a different vision of safety and justice.

When the streets calm and people suggest once again that we hire more black police officers or create more civilian review boards, I hope that we remember all the times those efforts have failed.

(Mariame Kaba is the director of Project NIA, a grass-roots group that works to end youth incarceration, and an anti-criminalization organizer.)

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It seems that "On the Road," Jack Kerouac's "Beat" defining opus, has run out of asphalt. Last month San Francisco poet Michael McClure left us. It's okay that you probably haven't heard of him. But you'll recognize some of his work.,606850

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"I THINK IT’S A FORERUNNER of something else to come. It’s an invasion for sure, and it’s widespread, but biblical? You mean like some kind of warning sign for people to repent of their wrongdoings? That would imply that the world is in line for some sort of divine punishment. Extreme arrogance can have some disastrous penalties. Maybe we are on the eve of destruction. There are numerous ways you can think about this virus. I think you just have to let it run its course."

— Bob Dylan

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  1. Susie de Castro June 14, 2020

    “The BIA (Bureau of Indian Affairs) has changed dramatically over the past 185 years, evolving as Federal policies designed to subjugate and assimilate American Indians and Alaska Natives to policies that promote Indian self-determination.” From the BIA website

  2. pete swendner June 14, 2020


  3. George Hollister June 14, 2020

    “THIS KIND of thing, this history re-write, is dangerous because obliterating the true history of a place, or this country for that matter, we can’t have an accurate idea of who we are and what we came from, and why and how it works now.”

    Excellent point. And it’s not just Fort Bragg. How about the attempt to erase the name Nigger Nat and only use his legal name, Nathanial Smith? There was Nigger Nat’s good friend Portugee Frank, too. And there was Portugee Flat in Mendocino. These are pejorative names that tell an important history of who people were, and are a reflection of the social interactions of the time. Without those names there is a plane vanilla history of nothingness.

    • Harvey Reading June 14, 2020

      Conservatives–almost always racists–always fear the truth, George. You know that. They will lie, cheat and steal to preserve the lies they concoct, lies that keep us “trash” (in their tiny minds) looking up to them with reverence and respect. The truth threatens their authority, which they perceive as their “birthright”. ALL monuments and other symbols glorifying racists and money grubbers should be demolished. They are nothing more than not-too-subtle brainwashing.

      History should present the likes of them–including the founders–as the scumbags they truly were. You and your nutty neighbor, beloved by the AVA, will become recognized as ineffectual laughingstocks, and deservedly so.

    • George Hollister June 15, 2020

      Dago Creek, is another one I just thought of. What should that be called now? Cuffey’s Cove some say is a racially pejorative name as well.

  4. Stanley Kelley June 14, 2020

    As far as I have ever heard; the Portugese in these parts have referred to themselves as Portagee. I wonder if Portugese is an English way of speech and not Portagee

    • Deborah Silva June 14, 2020

      Having been married to a “Portagee” for over 40 years, I might be able to help you with that. The Racial Slur Database defines Portagee as derogatory, used when referring to someone of Portuguese descent who comes from the Azores, meaning backwards and stupid.

      However, in my experience it really depends on who is using the term and how it is used. My husband does not mind if family and close friends call him a Portagee but if it’s someone who he does not know who’s just spouting off, telling a joke or describing someone’s manner he becomes quite offended.

      What really annoys me about my Portuguese last name is that people assume it’s Hispanic. I get numerous pop-up ads on my computer in Spanish and especially around election time I get many robo and live person phone calls in Spanish wanting me to vote a particular way. Years ago I actually spoke to Delores Huerta on one of these calls! Lot’s of junk mail in Spanish, too.

      • George Hollister June 15, 2020

        A few years back I was speaking to a long ago Fraga family resident of Mendocino, and mentioned that in the late 1940s Mendocino was a Portuguese town. I noticed this from looking at a photo of the Mendocino Volunteer Fire Department form back then. She responded, “Mendocino was better then”.

  5. Alethea Patton June 14, 2020

    Weighing in on a name change for Fort Bragg. I’m all for it. Besides the town being named for an indian killer and confederate, the word Bragg (brag) has a bad connotation. I like Noyo Harbor. Harbor has a good connotation (as in safe harbor). Noyo Harbor. And to those who say that name changes are erasing history, nobody is saying that history books should be destroyed. Go to your local library (if they ever open up again) or google it. Read about it. Name changes are an evolution and the time is now!

    • Susie de Castro June 14, 2020

      Fort Bragg, CA, a model for the entire Nation.

      The citizens of Fort Bragg past, present, and future came together to honor their Indigenous people by renaming the City: “Noyo”, its original name.

  6. Harvey Reading June 14, 2020

    You in-your-face conservative nut cases may be in for a big surprise with your “reopening the country” nonsense. Viruses, like the designer flu, mutate, sometimes into extremely virulent forms. The “second round” may surprise even the likes of you.

    I contend that the designer flu was concocted right here in the “homeland”, for the sole purposes of “thinning out” us commoners and distracting us while what’s left of the social safety net is dismantled, by “both” political parties. We are likely far from seeing it go away. Wake up people!

  7. Joe June 14, 2020

    • Harvey Reading June 14, 2020

      You’re getting as nutty as the Comptche crowd.

      • mendoblather June 14, 2020

        Hey Harv, not all of us are ‘nutty’ here in Comptche. While we may have vast differences of opinion, we do get along quite well.

        • Harvey Reading June 14, 2020

          From what George reported in a comment some months ago, it must be an anarchic “paradise”.

          And, no, I am not going to look up the comment…searching the AVA archives is frustrating and takes too long.

  8. Eric Sunswheat June 14, 2020

    Jun 13, 2020,10:00pm EDT
    The Sun clock has been put together using over 200 years of sunspot observations, which have been continuously counted each day since 1818.

    That daily count allowed scientists to crack the Sun’s cycle, but this new research—which included data from all 18 solar cycles so far observed and recorded—let the researchers standardise the solar activity cycle into a reliable “clock” for the first time. It was done using a mathematical technique known as the Hilbert transform…

    The analysis shows that while extreme events can happen at any time, they are much less likely to occur in the Sun’s quiet interval around solar maximum; only 1-3% of extreme space storms and solar superstorms over the last 150 years occurred in the quiet period of the solar cycle clock…

    However, the Sun clock can’t accurately predict when, nor how severe, the next solar storm will be…

    “The solar corona releases energy in flares, large structures containing hot ionised gas, which propagate to Earth and can cause a variety of impacts on aviation, communication, power grids,” said Chapman…

    Our star has an 11-year cycle that sees it moves [sic] from a period of solar minimum activity—right now—to its solar maximum, which is expected around the mid-2020s.

  9. Lazarus June 14, 2020


    Can they spare the horse?

    Be Safe,

  10. Susie de Castro June 14, 2020

    —from your friends across the southern border—

    “La Peste Del Insomnio” (fragment from One Hundred Years Of Solitude)

    Plagued by Insomnia
    —Hope amidst the crisis—

    El productor venezolano Leonardo Aranguibel dirige “La Peste del Insomnio”, un cortometraje en el que participan de manera altruista más de 30 actrices y actores de América Latina, quienes buscan evocar la esperanza en medio de la crisis sanitaria y económica desatada por el COVID-19, a través de la lectura de fragmentos de la obra de Gabriel García Márquez alusivos a la peste del olvido.

    “The world was so recent that many things lacked names, and in order to indicate them it was necessary to point.”

  11. Alethea Patton June 14, 2020

    Another point in response to George Hollister’s comment that a name change erases and creates “plain vanilla history” I would like to point out the great city of Istanbul, that has gone through many name changes in it’s time. The first known name was Lygos, a Thracian settlement. Byzantium, Augusta Antonia, Neo Roma, and Constantinople are all names (and not a full list) that came and went. I would argue that history has not been erased by these name changes but rather enhanced. Just think of the Fort Bragg name change as the anti-racists conquering the bigots (or status quo). Noyo Harbor!

    • Mike Kalantarian June 14, 2020

      Noyo Harbor is an excellent name, and we already know where it is. It’s not a drastic change. Another advantage of Noyo Harbor is it is unique. Fort Bragg CA always has to be distinguished from its bigger brother, Fort Bragg NC.

      • Bruce McEwen June 14, 2020

        Noyo Harbor, excellent. Any seafarer knows it. Also, I like the indigenous name better than the colonial one, as I see far too many creeks named, for instance, Soda Creek (at least two in Anderson Valley, both in widely divergent drainages); then there’s the ubiquitous Mill Creek (half-a dozen of ’em pop to mind); from the nostalgic Walnut Creek to the adventurous Hell Roarin’ Creek; and on to the insufferably patronizing Indian Creek; followed by a huge redundancy of other tediously repetitive pioneer names (which I’ll refrain from listing); and the signs always make me pause and wonder what the locals called it before all the white-assed honkeys got here and fucked everything up.

        One Ft. Bragg is quite enough, I agree.

        Let the Army have it, and keep it back East w/ the rest of their war trophies, equestrian martinets, etc.

    • George Hollister June 15, 2020

      That might be true, but Nigger Nat means something that Nathanial Smith does not. Nigger Nat is a somebody that represents the story of a man that is quickly erased and forgotten if all people see is Nathanial Smith. When a future unknowing person sees the name Nathanial Smith their prejudice assumes he was white, and from New England. Just another settler, don’t bother. Well he wasn’t just another settler, and the name Nigger Nat suggests that. In the future the name Nigger Nat will spur the curious to find out more about a very interesting man that did well, though he could not read, and carried the burden of being black in a white society. He was beyond that, and his story makes for one of the most interesting stories of people in Mendocino County history. Don’t take that away from him.

    • Mike Kalantarian June 15, 2020

      Braxton Bragg had no history with Noyo. He never set foot here. Nothing is being erased other than a poor choice of name. Braxton Bragg did not go on to distinguish himself in life, quite the opposite. It would be like naming your cat Spiro Agnew or Lance Armstrong or Milli Vanilli in the flush of their early success, only to find out they didn’t turn out so well in the end. Nothing is lost, but something could be gained by honoring the original place name. People like to refer to slavery as America’s original sin but that honor goes to how the natives were treated. Slavery was the second great sin. We need to own up to both.

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