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MCT: Monday, July 6, 2020

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NEAR SEASONAL TEMPERATURES and dry weather will persist during the next seven days. Meanwhile, coastal areas will see a continued marine influence with nighttime and morning low clouds and patchy fog. This will be followed by clearing afternoon skies and gusty afternoon winds. (NWS)

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BOONVILLE’S FOURTH OF JULY was celebrated by one (1) firecracker going off near the County Road Yard downtown at a little before 11pm, Saturday night. 

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by Carol Ann Amour

I am protesting the Fourth of July this year. I do not feel comfortable watching fireworks, drinking beer, visiting with friends, exercising white privilege, and "having fun" when the man who is supposed to be the leader of our country is actually a threat to the free world, when my Native brothers and sisters are under attack from Washington, when racial and social injustice are rampant in our country, and when a terrifying real life version of The Emperor's New Clothes is playing daily in the White House. 

It's been a long time since I've imbibed beer, or anything alcoholic actually, but I used to love the Fourth of July and celebrated with a vengeance. We lived in Racine on the parade route back in the late sixties and early seventies and we PARTIED. Racine was famous for its parade and we were infamous for our parties. 

Back then my kids were little, my friends and I were active in the Civil Rights movement, and hope was in the air. I had hope for the promise of our country. I had hope for racial and social justice in our lifetime.

But that hope has been dashed. Trampled underfoot by greed, power hungry politicians, unscrupulous corporate types, ignorance, and indifference. 

The work is so far from over and, fortunately, there are many young warriors fighting the good fight. I do not believe it's time to give up. It is not time to quit. It's time to do some serious soul searching, some hard thinking, some hard work. I'm old now, but I'm not done, and don't plan to be until I draw my last breath. 

So this is my personal Fourth of July proclamation: I am not going to stand by and watch this abuse of power, this hatred, this racism without doing what ever I can to stand against it and find a better way. I am small and relatively powerless, but if those of us who believe in racial, social, and environmental justice and living in a good way, as described by Anishinaabeg teachings, continue to join together, I think we will find great strength. We are all connected.

As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality."

I see this Fourth of July as a day of mourning, but I also see it as a day of hope.

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"On Friday, July 3rd, the Mendocino Volunteer Fire Department was dispatched to a residential structure fire on Comptche Ukiah Road. The fire was managed through a collaborative front of local volunteer professionals and CalFire personnel in an effort to mitigate life safety hazards, property destruction, and environmental impacts. Additionally, specific efforts were made to preserve items of historical importance to the community of Mendocino.

The incident was first dispatched by CalFire’s Howard Forest Command Center at 1813 (6:13 pm) for a reported van on fire next to a house at 42701 Comptche Ukiah Road.

Mendocino Fire’s first unit on scene was Captain Patrick Clark who relayed to incoming units that there was a fully involved metal structure fire with one burn victim who had been extricated from the building. At that time, Captain Clark requested an additional two water tenders, ALS ground ambulance, and an air ambulance.

Shortly after Captain Clark’s assessment of the fire, Chief David Latoof arrived on scene and assumed the role of Incident Commander placing Captain Clark in charge of operations.

After assigning an EMT to patient care, Captain Clark’s immediate objective was to fight the fire aggressively to try and slow spread within the structure. The methods used for this involved creating horizontal ventilation utilizing circular saws and multiple points of attack with fire hose.

Working in concert with ground personnel, Chief Latoof coordinated buckets drops from a CalFire helicopter onto strategically targeted sections of the structure.

When it became apparent that firefighting efforts were not going to be effective at slowing the fire’s spread within the structure, Captain Clark made the tactical decision to shift the firefighting efforts to a more defensive approach by protecting exposures and preventing the fire from spreading to the surrounding vegetation.

The one victim at the scene was treated at the scene for burn injuries and was transported via air ambulance to specialized care. Due to the delayed response from ground ALS from extended calls and transfers, flight nurses were transported from the landing zone to the scene to provide care to the burn victim. The victim and flight nurses were then transported to the landing zone by Mendocino Fire’s rescue unit.

Providing mutual aid for this incident were 5 CalFire engines, CalFire helicopter, Elk Fire, Albion Little River Fire, Fort Bragg Fire, and Comptche fire.

Mendocino fire officers on scene expressed gratitude to the care and excellence of the CalFire personnel as well as the quick response of neighboring departments to this incident. Over 60,000 gallons of water were used to combat this fire with over 50 personnel at the scene.

Mendocino Fire would like to remind everyone that we are in fire season and to take efforts to create defensible space. This includes not stacking items against buildings, removing vegetation, and creating space for fire engines. Additionally, Mendocino Fire is actively recruiting for new members. If interested please visit our website"

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RE: STRUCTURE FIRE REPORTED IN PHILO 10:08 PM: The scanner said (10:08 pm) Anderson Valley Fire Department & CalFire were dispatched to 17670 Indian Creek Road for the report of a structure fire. (via MSP)

MARK SCARAMELLA ADDS: The fire on Indian Creek road was not as reported. According to AV Chief Andres Avila, when first responding firefighters arrived they discovered that a small spot fire, perhaps caused by a carelessly tossed cigarette, had burned up into a pepperwood tree causing flames to be visible to a neighbor who, because of the angle, though it might be a structure fire. The first engine on scene called off the rest of the response and put out the fire within a few minutes.

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In 1892, popular Jack Littlefield became something of a legend in the Yolly Bolly Country by defeating Frank Feliz in the Lake Mountain horse race. At the time, Jack was working for George E. and Pitt White on the Kekawaka range which joined the Doc Merritt Ranch on Lake Mountain. The dividing line at the top of the mountain was the big corral called Round Corrals, where the buckeroos gathered and where rodeos were held. Frank Feliz, who was the buckeroo boss of the Doc Merritt horse and cow ranch, was the son of the Spaniard Fernando Feliz who owned the Sanel Rancho where Pierce and Frank Azbill had stopped in 1854 in the Hopland area. Feliz was one of the best ropers and was considered an "honest citizen," Jack was called an "outlaw with a heart of gold." Feliz had made the remark that he could beat Jack down the side of Lake Mountain for $500. The news spread fast, and soon Jack accepted the bet. Feliz had the pick of the best horses on the Merritt Ranch. Jack went to Hayfork and bought a fine little chestnut thoroughbred mare. The starting point for the race was to be the corner on the top of Lake Mountain on the extreme north end of a long, level plateau. From the corral, the country sloped rapidly downhill toward the Eel River to the west, where the race was to end on a small, sandy flat near the river.

In the latter part of May, the buckeroos from all parts of the Yolla Bolly Country came to the top of Lake Mountain to see the well-advertised race. Some were at the starting point at the corral, others went down the mountainside to observe, and a few went to the sandy flat near the Eel River. The plateau on top sloped rapidly for one-half mile before meeting the high rocky points and deep and deep gulches full of fallen trees and gopher holes. The rough ridges were covered with oak, madrone, and manzanita brush.

The two expert horsemen, making their own trails, rode wildly down the dangerous terrain, leaping down from small hills and racing around the ridges. At the finish Jack Littlefield beat Frank Feliz in a very close race. Some yards ahead of the finish line, Jack's horse, whose shoulders had been torn loose from her body by the many leaps downhill, fell, turned over, and died. For years her bleached bones lay on the flat near the river, a reminder to the mountain buckeroos of that long-talked-about famous race. 

(Genocide and Vendetta — The Round Valley Wars of Northern California by Lynwood Carranco and Estle Beard) 

ED NOTE: The geography referred to above, is the still wild area of southern Trinity County, eastern Humboldt and north eastern Mendocino County or east of Garberville, north of Covelo, a little south of Weaverville. To simplify even further, south of Highway 36, north of Highway 162. 

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by Jim Shields

No doubt about it we’re at a crossroads in this C-19 Pandemic.

It appears that California is applying the brakes to reopening our just reopened economy.

The past week has been fast and furious with a flurry of newly issued Coronavirus orders, the formulation of “watch lists,” business guideline updates, and the kickoff of a “Wear A Mask” campaign.

Here’s what’s happening.

California Governor Gavin Newsom on Sunday, June 28, ordered seven counties, including the state’s most populous county, Los Angeles, to immediately close any bars, nightclubs or breweries that are open, due to spiking in C-19 cases.

You can bet that Mendocino County Public Health Officer Mimi Doohan will be following suit soon, as she seldom strays far from state-issued orders.

The governor’s order closes bars, pubs, and breweries that serve up booze, but not food. Restaurants will be allowed to remain open, but they are subject to mandated dine-in regulations, takeout and delivery services.

These business closures are a reversal of the state’s reopening process amid a sharp uptick in coronavirus cases.

Sunday’s action marks the first time Newsom has closed business sectors he had previously allowed to open during the Pandemic.

“COVID-19 is still circulating in California, and in some parts of the state, growing stronger,” Newsom said in a written statement. “That’s why it is critical we take this step to limit the spread of the virus in the counties that are seeing the biggest increases.”

The seven counties that he ordered to shutter bars include: Los Angeles, Fresno, Kern, San Joaquin, Tulare, Kings, and Imperial. Additionally, eight other counties were also “requested” by state health officials to look at their policies and issue local health orders to close bars. Those counties include Contra Costa, Santa Clara, Sacramento, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, Santa Barbara, and Stanislaus.

“Californians must remain vigilant against this virus,” Newsom added in a statement issued later. “COVID-19 is still circulating in California, and in some parts of the state, growing stronger. That’s why it is critical we take this step to limit the spread of the virus in the counties that are seeing the biggest increases. Each of us has the power to limit the spread of this virus. Wear a face covering and keep physically distant outside the home. Don’t gather in groups, and if you are older or have a condition that puts you at higher risk of COVID-19, protect yourself by staying home.”

On Monday, June 29, during a midday briefing, Newsom addressed another major concern that will figure largely in his decision to possibly roll back recently loosened shelter-in-place orders: Fourth of July weekend celebrations.

Obviously in anticipation of the Fourth of July weekend, Newsom on Thursday launched the “Wear A Mask” public awareness campaign encouraging Californians to use face coverings — one of the best ways people can protect themselves and others from the virus. The campaign is taking an aggressive approach to slowing the spread of COVID-19, which will save lives and allow the state to reopen the economy. The campaign, which will continue until at least the end of the year, will kick off in English and Spanish and then expand into other languages later this month.

“We all have a responsibility to slow the spread. It is imperative — and required — that Californians protect each other by wearing masks and practicing physical distancing when in public so we can fully reopen our economy,” said Newsom. “We all need to stand up, be leaders, show we care and get this done.”

May’s Memorial Day gatherings that saw beaches, parks, and neighborhoods jammed with non-social distancing and maskless celebrants is believed to have contributed to the surge in Pandemic cases. Independence Day partying will likely lead to another spike.

Newsom also announced that Orange County, Solano, Merced and Glenn Counties were also added to the state Department of Public Health’s (DPH) “watch list due to increasing percentages of positive tests. That move means 19 out of 58 counties are now on Newsom’s 24-7 radar.

Being added to the state’s watch list initially means initially that state health officials will work more closely with local officials on efforts to manage the spread of the virus. But it could potentially lead to more dramatic actions, like Newsom’s Sunday order closing bars in L.A. and other counties experiencing virus spikes. If he’ll do it in large, heavily populated counties, he’ll do it in bucolic, sparsely settled areas like on the Northcoast, including Mendocino County.

According to a statement from DPH, “Brewpubs, breweries, bars, and pubs, should close until those establishments are allowed to resume operation per state guidance and local permission, unless they are offering sit-down, dine-in meals. Alcohol can only be sold in the same transaction as a meal.”

DPH warned, “bars are social environments where groups of people mix. In these environments alcohol consumption reduces inhibition and impairs judgment, leading to reduced compliance with recommended core personal protective measures, such as the mandatory use of face coverings and the practice of social and physical distancing. Bars are generally louder environments requiring raised voices leading to the greater projection of droplets. These factors present a higher likelihood of transmission of COVID-19 within groups, between groups, and among the workforce.”

Furthermore, “Public health professionals within California and throughout the nation have identified bars as the highest risk sector of non-essential business currently open. Beyond the higher risk of transmission in bar settings, contract tracing, a key measure needed to control spread, is also more challenging in bars because of the constant mixing among patrons and a lack of record-keeping of those in attendance.”

Then on Wednesday, July 1, Newsom announced a new round of lockdown measures ordering the 19 watch list counties to close all indoor operations for several business sectors.

In addition to bars being forced to shut down temporarily, restaurants, wineries, movie theaters, family entertainment venues, zoos, museums and cardrooms must halt operations in selected communities, Newsom said. However, bars and restaurants can continue to operate if they can move operations outdoors.

Also this past Wednesday, DPH issued updated COVID-19 guidelines that require churches and other houses of worship to “discontinue singing and chanting activities.”

As we’ve learned here in Mendocino County, health experts say shouting or singing can spread the coronavirus just as easily as coughing or sneezing.

“Activities such as singing and chanting negate the risk reduction achieved through six feet of physical distancing,” the state said in its new guidelines.

We should know in a couple of weeks how effective reversing course is because so far, this Pandemic seems to have a mind all of its own.

(Jim Shields is the Mendocino County Observer’s editor and publisher, and is also the long-time district manager of the Laytonville County Water District. Listen to his radio program “This and That” every Saturday at 12 noon on KPFN 105.1 FM, also streamed live:

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RE: ELLEN DRELL’S RECENT LETTER to the editor about “McCowen’s Plan” to streamline pot cultivation rules…

To the Editor:

Remember Measure “AF,” the 2016 voter initiative that would have opened almost every area in Mendocino County to commercial cannabis operations? AF was defeated by a wide margin in every Supervisorial District.

Though County voters supported legalization, they didn’t want cannabis to be the next “gold rush” at the expense of the County’s environment – our open spaces, unpolluted night skies, shared rural values, or the health of the County’s wildlife and the survival of salmon and steelhead in our streams.

In the wake of the AF defeat, the Board of Supervisors spent a year crafting a County Ordinance that went a long way to accomplishing just that – legalization, but with strong environmental protections. The Ordinance gave existing local growers a head start in the permit process, and in most cases the ability to continue to operate where they were, regardless of the zoning district. It also provided a path to legalization for new growers willing to stay small and be protective of the environment.

In these last three years the County Cannabis Unit, now at the Planning and Building Department, has issued about 300 permits. At the same time the Department has happily accepted close to a thousand more non-refundable application fees, in many cases in blatant violation of basic parameters of the Ordinance, and given the applicants a green light to operate while their applications are “under review.”

Now, Supervisor McCowen wants to throw out the Ordinance. “It isn’t working,” he says. Instead, he wants to “mirror” the State’s regulations, and leave environmental review to the discretion of Planning Department’s Cannabis Unit. That’s “code” for opening the County’s rangelands and other restricted zones to new cultivation; allowing unlimited permits per parcel; and allowing cultivation acreage to grow right along with whatever the State’s allows.

Those approximately 300 growers who actually did get their permits, abided by the Ordinance, value small, craft operations, and are paying their fees and taxes are ironically the likely casualties of the McCowen plan, along with the County’s natural environment. The McCowen plan gets rid of the pesky restrictions of the Ordinance and rolls out the welcome mat to the short-term, big-time operators wanting to cash in on the “Mendo-grown” name. To quote one such out-of-county hopeful, “We would hate to see other counties expand and loosen California cannabis regulations, while Mendocino gets left behind.”

If you support the goals of our existing Ordinance and are sick of non-enforcement, let the Supervisors know that you oppose this secretive end-run around the will of the people. The Supervisors will take up this critical issue at their Thurs. July, 21st meeting, (despite barriers to public participation!) Send written comments to 

Then, please register to “telecomment” at the County’s website before the day of the meeting in order to speak to the Board on that day. If you’re unsure of the process, call the Clerk of the Board, at 463-4221, and ask for specific instructions. “See” you there. Thank you.

Ellen Drell



SO ELLEN DRELL of the Willits Environmental Center opposes Supervisor John McCowen’s tentative proposal to “streamline” the County’s ridiculously failed and overcomplex pot cultivation ordinance mainly on grounds that it hasn’t been enforced, especially for “provisional” permit holders, and that McCowen’s plan would (according to Drell) “open the County’s rangelands and other restricted zones to new cultivation.” 

FIRST: There is no “McCowen plan.” There’s just his brief informal mention of it as a concept at a prior Supes meeting. Drell’s letter is a pre-emptive attempt to derail it before it’s even available for public review. 

SECOND: We have not seen any evidence of “provisional” pot permit holders doing any more environmental damage than regular permit holders. The big, remote outlaw growers are the main enviromental problem.

THIRD: McCowen isn’t likely to significantly change the zoning restrictions. From what he’s said so far, the current pot zoning is not part of his “streamlining” proposal. McCowen hasn’t said anything about “opening the County’s rangelands and other restricted zones to new cultivation.” And given McCowen’s record on pot we seriously doubt he’d support it now. Hence, the zoning restrictions about where and how big growers can grow will remain in place, as they should. In fact, in some areas — Rancho Navarro comes immediately to mind — the zoning restrictions should be increased. 

MS. DRELL says the Mendocino public wants to protect “our open spaces, unpolluted night skies, shared rural values, and the health of the County’s wildlife and the survival of salmon and steelhead in our streams.” 


SO where has Ms. Drell and the Willits Enviromental Center been on the huge enviromental damage caused by grapes? (Not to mention the destruction of our night-time peace and quiet which is ruined by dozens of huge vineyard fans.) Talk about being “sick of non-enforcement”! Even that outrageous land-scraping that got Mr. Rhys a multi-million dollar fine for clearcutting rangeland to plant another vineyard last year didn’t result in any requirement to restore the damaged land. And that was a no-brainer of a violation. To an outside techno-billionaire like him a few million dollars in fines is less than a slap on the wrist. And while the grape horde’s major damage is done by outside mega-bucks, Ms. Drell is worried about outside mega-bucks for pot? 

McCOWEN’S LONG OVERDUE proposal could bring more pot growers into a regulatory regime too. Either way, though, the large outlaw growers in the north County don’t care what Mendo’s pot policy is. If Ms. Drell is really interested in “our open spaces, unpolluted night skies, shared rural values, and the health of the County’s wildlife and the survival of salmon and steelhead in our streams,” she should pay at least some attention to grapes and advocate for more enforcement of those blatant outlaw grows before she starts arguing with the “McCowen Plan” which hasn’t even seen the light of day yet. 

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Enjoyed reading "Giusti Looks Back".

“Brick” Cernac was my neighbor for many years. Loved to talk baseball with my husband. I do believe David made an error in “Brick’s” date of birth. He wasn’t born in 1945. His date of birth was March 12, 1916 and he was very proud of his age.

Taken from John’s Obituary: “John George Cernac of Fort Bragg died March 16, 2016, at Sherwood Oaks Health Center. Born on March 12, 1916 in Fort Bragg, California, to George and Mary Cernac, he was 100 years old. Graveside services were held Tuesday, March 22, 2016, at Rose Memorial Park.”

MARK SCARAMELLA NOTES: On re-reading Mr. Giusti’s jail-script handwriting, we can see that he wrote “1915” but scribbled over it so it looked kinda like 1945. His 1915 is one year off from the 1916 in the death notice.

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by Mary Callahan

The city of Fort Bragg will keep its name, at least for now.

But recent debate over whether to rebrand the North Coast town at a time of national reckoning with symbols of the Southern Confederacy, a legacy of slavery and centuries of racial and ethnic oppression, has led to serious soul-searching in the Mendocino County community.

The current movement may yet lead to a parting of ways with the town's namesake, Braxton Bragg. The town traces its roots to a military outpost named for the distinguished veteran of the Mexican-American War, who later became a slaveholder and Confederate States Army general.

Many fear failure to do so now could signal tolerance for bigotry or risk putting the city on the "wrong" side of history.

But the matter is deeply personal for Fort Bragg residents and remains unresolved. Elected leaders in June authorized creation of a new citizen commission to find a path forward, hoping the group also will help address deeper issues of systemic racism through dialog and education in the majority white town of 7,300 people.

"I think there's a lot of history that we don't know, and I think we can all benefit," said Vice Mayor Bernie Norvell, one of two council members assigned to design a framework for the group. "We don't know what we don't know. The deep dive can be a good thing."

It's become clear during the profoundly divisive debate over the name that many residents, even longtime ones, previously knew little, if anything about the town's namesake, let alone his role as a defender of slavery. Bragg, who died in 1876, 13 years before the city incorporated, wasn't known ever to have set foot on the Mendocino Coast.

Still more unexpected for many residents is the bitterness and pain associated with the original fort from which the town grew. The fort, named by a soldier who had served under Bragg 10 years earlier, well before the Civil War, was established in 1857 to subdue the region's Indigenous tribes. It included a containment camp that was part of a brutal campaign of enslavement, bloodshed and dislocation, with lasting ramifications.

It's that history that Javier Silva, 44, a member of the Sherwood Valley Band of Pomo Indians, wants people to understand before they take action on a name.

"I think what we're looking to get out of this is some recognition of the atrocities that happened and why the city name is there in the first place — what purpose was behind it, why there's a settlement here," said Silva, who hopes to be selected for the commission.

The work could make for some difficult, but necessary, conversations, said Tara Larson, a white high school English teacher and fifth- or sixth-generation Fort Bragger. She and her mother are still working it out.

"I'm willing to discuss and learn and listen and talk and hear what the community has to say," said Larson, 49, another commission candidate.

"It's a much bigger picture and discussion than the fact that Bragg was a Union soldier and became a Confederate soldier. It's a big conversation. It's opened people's eyes," she said.

Councilwoman Jessica Morsell-Haye, who will lead the effort with the vice mayor, said she hopes the outcome will promote some sense of healing, though what that might look like is unclear.

"I heard a number of people from our local tribe say they needed their voices to be heard," she said. "This provides an opportunity for that. And I'm hearing from people of color in our community. I'm hearing a lot of pain in terms of feeling these daily effects of bias and bigotry that really need to be brought out into the light and looked it."

City Council members already have called for a proclamation disavowing any connection with General Bragg, an unpopular, largely failed Civil War commander who nonetheless served as military adviser to southern President Jefferson Davis. The proclamation, agreed to June 22, will be drawn up and voted on July 13.

Many in town think that's sufficient, especially those born and raised as the sons and daughters of hardworking folks at the edge of the Pacific who never dreamed their town bore the stain of Southern slavery.

Among them are Ryan Bushnell, 35, a youth coach and volunteer firefighter who has lived most of his life in Fort Bragg and feels an allegiance to the city absent any association to the general who shared its name.

Bushnell has circulated an online petition signed by more than 2,000 people so far urging the City Council to refrain from putting the matter on the ballot, telling council members last month, "I've been called racist. I've been called a dirt bag. And why? Because I'm a white guy that wants to keep the name of this town. It's not a Braxton Bragg issue to me."

In an interview, he lauded the council for assembling a task force to take input on the matter, however, and said it was appropriate not to rush and to think through the decision.

"If things don't go my way, and they change the name, then so be it, I made my point," he said.

Larson and her family share his position, however. Though eager to have discussion about community history and racial justice, they love their town and its people, and feel erasing the name tears away at their and others' personal experience.

Larson and her husband, Merlyn, have raised four now-adult Black sons that they took under their wing during a 14-year sojourn in Citrus Heights. They now have a Latino foster son.

Merlyn Larson said he feels changing the name would divide the community further when it can least afford it. One of their sons, Davion Johnson, told the council last month he agrees, saying the effort to support social justice should not "displace people's cultures and the lives they have built inside this city."

They, like many others, would be content to see the city rededicated to a different "Bragg," perhaps one of those already suggested, like Union Army Brigadier General and four-term Wisconsin Rep. Edward Stuyvesant Bragg, who died in 1912.

"In doing so, we would show everyone that we do care, we don't want to associate with racism, and we do want to be on the right side of history in Fort Bragg," Merlyn Larson said.

Morsell-Haye said rededication "was a little too easy … without really looking at what that local history piece is."

"By creating the citizen commission, really my goal is to create the space for meaningful dialogue around what healing and equity actually look like for our community, and whether we were to rename or rededicate, there has to be meaningful action that goes into supporting anything that has to do with the name."

The issue of the city's name suddenly took on urgency last month, as demonstrators flooded into the streets of cities around the country and even abroad to protest the Memorial Day killing of a Black man named George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.

During days and then weeks of sustained public action that marked a turning point in many people's understanding of systemic racism and white privilege, symbols of the Confederacy across the land became a target, including the small traditional timber and fishing town on the Mendocino Coast, where about 61% of the population is white alone, 32% is Latino, 1% is Black and 4.5% is mixed race, according to the federal census..

The linkage to Braxton Bragg has drawn attention to the town before, however, most recently in 2015, when the California Legislative Black Caucus was among those asking city leaders to dispense with the Fort Bragg name in the interest of racial justice.

The effort was timed with state legislation aimed at removing Confederate flags from public places in the wake of a racially motivated shooting at a Black South Carolina church. Nine people were slain.

This year, with the Black Lives Matter movement gaining strength, City Hall again began receiving communications from across the country, driven in part by online maps of remaining Confederate symbols. On the West Coast, the city of Fort Bragg all but stands alone.

In a move that would bring national media attention to his town, Mayor Will Lee brought the matter to the five-member council in June, saying the country had reached "a national inflection point" that made it appropriate to reconsider the city name.

His question to the council was whether the matter belonged on the November ballot, a task that citizens could take on for themselves through voter initiative, though the deadline for this fall had passed already.

The council also has the authority by four-fifths vote to change the name itself.

But scores of emails, letters and calls, and nearly four hours of public testimony June 22 at the first face-to-face City Council meeting since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the degree of community division and complexity of the issue became clear.

What was apparent was that a majority of people on both sides did not want the council to decide.

MendoCoast BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) and more than 900 signatories to a petition supporting the group's position called on the council to form a diverse task force inclusive of Black and Native people affected by the legacies of slavery and local displacement. The group said those most affected by the ugly legacy behind the town's name should be given the lead in deciding how to change it without the burden of a ballot election when they already are "fighting for racial justice on a chronic and ongoing daily basis."

"Let's have these discussions. Let's figure this out," Sierra Wooten, a frequent spokesperson for the group, told the council in June. "… Everybody here can heal, but we just have to do the work."

Cesar Yanez, who was born and raised in Fort Bragg by immigrant parents, said his mother's lifelong love of reading about local history gave him a passing familiarity with his hometown's background, both its connection to Braxton Bragg and to the injustices visited upon the land's Indigenous people. But he said he has never felt anything but welcomed by his diverse array of friends and acquaintances.

Yanez, 48, said he doesn't have a position on the name issue at this point but hopes to be selected for the new commission because he's interested in the conversation that lies ahead.

"We should learn together and assess the situation as we go together and hopefully not come into this with a preconceived idea, and, you know, let's discuss it," he said "I think that's exactly what this is for is for discussion."

(Courtesy, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat)

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CATCH OF THE DAY, July 5, 2020

Aguado, Alvarez, Bryant

ABEL AGUADO, Ukiah. Interfering with police communications, probation revocation.

ARMANDO ALVAREZ, Lakeport/Mendocino. Driving without license, no license, probation revocation.

ASHLEY BRYANT, Ukiah. Domestic battery.

Garcia, Goodwin, Moon

ISIAH GARCIA, Napa/Ukiah. Burglary.

DENYCE GOODWIN, Covelo. DUI causing bodily injury, child neglect/abandonment.

JESSE MOON, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation.

Prickett, Sanchez, Whetstone


LUIS SANCHEZ, Oakland/Ukiah. DUI.

MICHAEL WHETSTONE, Hopland. Domestic battery.

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Since the Supreme Court has bestowed personhood to corporations in this country, and Mitt Romney famously claimed “corporations are people, my friend” during the 2012 election, why aren’t the “people” at PG&E who made dangerous decisions paying a real price? 

To spend money on dividends and executive bonuses when your equipment is faulty and other safety measures were poor is unconscionable. Where is the real criminal price paid?

Those conscious decisions caused the loss of scores of lives and massive property devastation. Their punishment doesn’t fit the crimes. I wouldn’t have gotten off that easy; would you?

Karl Hesterberg

Santa Rosa

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CCC CAMPS (Civilian Conservation Corps, 1933-1942)

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I don’t disagree with the removal of Confederate monuments per se. I don’t disagree with your explanation of why they were put up in the first place. I don’t particularly have any fondness for anybody who romanticizes the Confederacy.

Mobs roaming the streets tearing down whatever hurts their fee-fees though? I do disagree with that.

And if the mob begins to tear down monuments that don’t quite fit that narrow Confederacy standard but still give them a sad? Then as I see it, another mob that believes those monuments should stand has an equal right (responsibility?) to ensure that they do so… if necessary by force. You can not pick which flavors of anarchy you like and which you don’t. Once it’s on, it’s on. 

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When I watch TV now I vomit every 15 minutes watching the scumbag protesters and stupid liberal people acting up like that. Black lives matter? What's the matter with all lives matter? That doesn't fit in with the liberal media. I'm waiting for a few white people to get killed prominently and then see what lives matter.

Portland, Seattle, Washington DC, all over, people killed in Chicago maybe 17 or 18 per weekend. Black lives matter, yeah. White lives matter too, Mr. Whoeverthoughtthisup. Don't forget that!

San Francisco is harboring a fugitive murderer they can't find because of the sanctuary area, a convicted murderer who murdered two people who jumps around San Francisco and they can't find him. Very nice. Gavin Newsom would be applauding that I'm sure.

The gentleman who wrote the little article condemning everything I do and say: you are probably one of the biggest scumbags in the country, you might have worked for MRC or LP, but you were probably a low-paid store sweeper. Violated everything in the Union. The kind of person we don't need in this country. Good riddance to you.

I wish Donald Trump would call martial law in these cities and get rid of these rotten stinking protesters.

God bless Donald Trump.

Jerry Philbrick


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WHEN YOU START studying yourself too deeply, you start seeing things that maybe you don’t want to see. And if there’s a rhyme and reason, people can figure you out, and once they can figure you out, you’re in big trouble.

— Donald Trump

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To the Editor:

The need for the Wildlife Service Contract cannot be understated.

Some people would have you believe this is just about killing problem animals. This is totally false. This service is provided by the county for all businesses and residents to use in case of issues with wild animals damaging property/killing of domestic pets as well as livestock.

We live in a rural and sparsely populated area of the state. There are bound to be times when there will be a bad encounter with the wildlife that lives in the area. That is when we need the help of the Wildlife Service people. These trained individuals can provide welcome insight on reducing/eliminating these unfortunate encounters.

These encounters with wildlife can be fatal to not only domestic animals, ranch livestock but to humans as well. Let’s not forget about destruction of private property too. There may be many reasons that some encounters with wildlife are deadly such as Rabies, hunger, injuries, age, sickness, lack of prey and don’t forget overpopulation. These animals are reproducing most likely every year and this causes stress on their food supply and hunting territories. Some try to shame us to believe that we have some moral/humane mental lapse for wanting to protect our property and animals. This is not so. We value wildlife, just not to the point that they can destroy our pets and property. Wild animals that have loss the fear of humans can be a danger. Just look at some the attacks on humans by wild animals to the south of us.

Would it not be more humane to have professionals help you assess what the problem is and provide counsel/support or action to resolve the issue? That seems far more humane then having people take matter into their own hands and just destroy/injure every animal they feel could harm their property or animals.

This service is essential for business and property owners. Some have made references that it cost the county money and is a waste or worse, fees should be charged for this service. Well let’s see, we have local law enforcement for all in the county to use if needed for crimes against property and person. Thank goodness they don’t charge fees for their very important services to us all. Shouldn’t we also have a service available to us when wildlife is damaging property or killing our domesticated animals?

The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors saw a real need for this service in our county and I applaud those supervisors that with stood the push by people who believe all wildlife should be protected regardless of the damage that it may cause. We will all be safer with the help of these professionals when it comes time to deal with aggressive/dangerous wildlife. Let’s hope we don’t need to use the service, but it’s good to have them available.

Dale Briggs


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  1. James Marmon July 6, 2020


    “Face Masks Work”

    • Joe July 6, 2020

      They even work against fleas.

  2. George Hollister July 6, 2020

    NEAR SEASONAL TEMPERATURES means below average.

  3. chuck dunbar July 6, 2020


    “Lookin’ Real Sharp!”

  4. Lynne Sawyer July 6, 2020

    Thank you for the old photos. Bobby Glover used to have a large collection of photos and negatives of the Valley. He also told me that 6 families used to live on the island upstream of the bridge on the Navarro River. Until now I couldn’t imagine how that was possible. He said that he found a lot of bottles in his collection in the dumps on the island.

  5. Lazarus July 6, 2020


    Hello, I have an appointment with Dr. Fauci…

    Be Well,

  6. Eric Sunswheat July 6, 2020

    RE: …she should pay at least some attention to grapes and advocate for more enforcement of those blatant outlaw grows before she starts arguing… (MARK SCARAMELLA REPLIES)

    —>. Huh?

  7. Cotdbigun July 6, 2020

    Regarding Carol Amour, how exactly does one ” exercise white ? privilege ”
    Is it doable in Fort Bragg? Can I lose weight doing this exercise? Any hints or directions to some kind of ‘ How To Manual ‘ would be appreciated.

  8. Eric Sunswheat July 6, 2020

    MON, JUL 6 202011:10 AM EDT UPDATED 43 MIN AGO.
    It is not a “safe bet” to rely on immunity to Covid-19 as a strategy for coping with the pandemic, one expert has warned, adding that herd immunity strategies were “probably never going to work.”

    Speaking Monday on CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe,” Danny Altmann, professor of immunology at Imperial College London, said that in towns and cities where there had been coronavirus infections, only 10% to 15% of the population was likely to be immune.

    “And immunity to this thing looks rather fragile — it looks like some people might have antibodies for a few months and then it might wane, so it’s not looking like a safe bet,” he said. “It’s a very deceitful virus and immunity to it is very confusing and rather short-lived.”…

    Despite a global race to find a vaccine for the coronavirus, experts remain uncertain about whether the antibodies present in people who have had the virus actually provide immunity to reinfection…

    Top White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci speculated last month that if Covid-19 behaved like other coronaviruses, there “likely isn’t going to be a long duration of immunity” from antibodies or a vaccine.

    Meanwhile, the WHO has stated that it remains unclear whether those who have already caught the virus once will be immune to getting it again…

    He (Altmann) acknowledged that policymakers needed to find a balance between protecting public health and preventing socioeconomic disasters, but added:

    “We need to continue to be led by the science and the medicine and do the right thing. And doing the right thing means everything you can do to block transmission.”

    NOTE: Not in Mendocino County, where N95 respirators with exhaust valves, rule the roost with permission of knowing the science in Health Officer Order, to super spreader the virus among the dumb founded rural hicks, bet yah.

    • Joe July 6, 2020


      A protective mask may reduce the likelihood of infection, but it will not eliminate the risk, particularly when a disease has more than 1 route of transmission. Thus any mask, no matter how efficient at filtration or how good the seal, will have minimal effect if it is not used in conjunction with other preventative measures, such as isolation of infected cases, immunization, good respiratory etiquette, and regular hand hygiene. An improvised face mask should be viewed as the last possible alternative if a supply of commercial face masks is not available, irrespective of the disease against which it may be required for protection. Improvised homemade face masks may be used to help protect those who could potentially, for example, be at occupational risk from close or frequent contact with symptomatic patients. However, these masks would provide the wearers little protection from microorganisms from others persons who are infected with respiratory diseases. As a result, we would not recommend the use of homemade face masks as a method of reducing transmission of infection from aerosols.

  9. Joe July 6, 2020

    Covid Treatment?

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