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MCT: Wednesday, July 15, 2020

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HOT AND DRY WEATHER will persist over the interior through the week. In addition, a thermal trough will build across the coast today, resulting in warmer temperatures for coastal Del Norte and Humboldt counties. (NWS)

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Miller Report for the Week of July 13th, 2020

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

Last week, our local nursing facility, Sherwood Oaks, learned that one of their staff was positive for COVID. This person, who got the infection outside of work, was exposed through no fault of her own. Specifically, this was not an exposure due to irresponsible behavior. She was not symptomatic when she started work, but did become so during her shift and was immediately sent home. When she subsequently tested positive, Sherwood Oaks appropriately notified both the County and State Health Departments. All staff and residents of the facility were then tested with three residents and one additional staff member testing positive. This week, two more residents have tested positive, bringing the total number up to five residents.

“Following our previously developed plans on how to deal with an outbreak like this if it happened, we have sectioned off one part of our facility as an isolation area,” said Dr. John Cottle, medical director of Sherwood Oaks. “We have moved all of the positive residents into that area. We also have notified the families of all of our residents. With the help of the health department, we are again testing all our staff and residents. We will keep repeating testing on a regular basis until advised by the health department to do otherwise. We expect to know the results by the end of this week.”

Our hospital, Adventist Health – Mendocino Coast, is prepared to accept any residents from Sherwood Oaks who become ill and need acute hospital care. We are also expecting that we may see other local cases from other sources as cases begin to rise in Northern California. As part of the surge plan we developed when COVID first began, we converted a section of the hospital into a COVID ward. Early on, we were concerned that we might have to take care of the most critically ill patients here if other area hospitals became overwhelmed. Fortunately, while cases are rising, we do not expect the overwhelming wave previously predicted prior to shelter-in-place. Thus, we now expect to be able to transfer any seriously ill patients who may need critical care.

Today, Governor Newsom announced a statewide order to reclose all restaurants, bars, wineries and many other social venues throughout California. While studies show that at least two-thirds of people are wearing masks and taking steps to minimize risks, there still is a large percentage of the population who are not. Freedom does come with responsibility. I hope that those people who are not taking mask wearing, hand washing and social distancing seriously, will think of how such actions not only help protect them, but also their loved ones and the rest of us in the community. It is true that a young person who gets COVID may not get very ill. Yet, in the meantime, might spread it to a beloved older family member who could die. These choices not only effect ourselves, but all of those around you.

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Update: As the COVID-19 situation in Mendocino County is rapidly evolving, stats change rather quickly. Since we published the dashboard earlier this evening, we have identified 10 additional cases of COVID-19 in our county, bringing the new total to 146. We will be posting an updated dashboard with demographic details tomorrow.

Please remember to keep 6 feet away from others outside of your household unit at all times, and wear a facial covering over the mouth and nose when in public. Remember: gatherings of any size are banned in California, as the spread of COVID-19 thrives in close-contact situations.”

According to Mendocino County Executive Office's Sarah Dukett, there were 11 new cases on Saturday, 8 on Sunday, and 14 Monday. 

Since, last Monday, there has been a 37% increase in Mendocino County's COVID-19 cases.

(Public Health Presser, July 14, 2020)

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We went convertible riding Saturday and Sunday on those beautiful days. The contrast of what is going on now in our community versus the lockdown photos I posted on March 29 are striking. Mendocino was busy, although the mask wearing and social distancing was not bad. Fort Bragg was a zoo. The cars parked at Pudding Creek beach and the north trail were as numerous as I have ever seen, Jenny's Giant Burger, the ice cream shop and Noyo Harbor North Drive were teeming with people. We are headed to a big outbreak of Corona virus on the coast I am deeply afraid.

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ONE OF THE MOST DRAMATIC bits of information to come out of Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting was an in-passing observation by Sheriff Matt Kendall, who is also the County’s Coroner. In response to a question about facial covering enforcement vs. other priority tasks that his Office has, Coroner Kendall said that during the Covid virus crisis in Mendocino County there has been a 38% increase in suicides and a 25% increase in drug overdoses. No one asked about the factors involved in this or what, if anything, can be done about these alarming increases or circumstances. Instead the Board went on at great length about whether a business has a right to deny service to someone who refuses to wear a face mask.

ANSWERING A QUESTION from Supervisor Williams Tuesday, CEO Angelo said that, while Mendo is not currently on the Governor’s “watch list,” if current upward virus trends continue, Mendo is on course to be put on it and re-close when cases, or especially hospitalizations, exceed Mendo’s ability to deal with them. No specific date was mentioned, but everyone seemed to agree that there wasn’t much more Mendo could do besides encourage people in every way possible to wear their masks, and keep their distances. If Mendo finds itself on the watch list, as seems likely, many of the limited re-openings that we now are permitted would be re-closed and conditions would return to something akin to the spring’s essential services only limitations.

WHETHER THAT HAPPENS or not, it looks like it will be under aegis of a new County Health Officer. CEO Angelo announced Tuesday that an as yet unidentified local medico has been hired to replace San Diego-based Dr. Noemi Doohan. An announcement is expected next week. 

OF COURSE, the board rubberstamped the six-month extension of Camille Schraeder’s Redwood Community Services mental health services operation for about $9.5 million, on grounds that staff is still working on an RFP for the work to be released in time for consideration at the end of the extension in December. Nobody was interested in what that RFP would look like or what kind of options would be included. The last time this contract came up for sole-source renewal, Supervisor Williams voted against it saying that it didn’t include any options, and requested that the contract be broken down into segments that could, at least theoretically, be separately bid. 

AS TO SUPERVISOR HASCHAK’S proposal to terminate the Board’s existing ad hoc pot committees, after being told by County Counsel Christian Curtis that ad hoc committees should not be terminated unless and until there’s a “full and thorough report,” the Board ignored Curtis and simply discontinued the existing ad hoc pot committees. Supervisor Dan Gjerde, a member of the pot economic development ad hoc committee said that his committee had concluded that economic development should be turned over to the “pot industry,” and that his ad hoc committee had no other “recommendations” to bring to the Board or report on.

TOWARD THE END OF TUESDAY’S BOARD MEETING, the Board voted 3-2 to approve renewal of a controversial federal Wildlife Services Predator Control depredation contract for about $160k. Supervisors McCowen, Brown and Gjerde voted in favor; Supervisors Haschak and Williams voted no. Opponents argued that non-lethal methods work well and would save the $160k per year for five years. Proponents said that non-lethal methods may work and are used when possible, but there are still situations when animals must be killed for one reason or another. Supervisor Carre Brown noted that illegal pot growers frequently release pit bulls into the wild which run in packs and cannot be controlled by non-lethal methods. Opponents also argued that the County should not be subsidizing one private sector and that if the ranchers want the service they should pay for it themselves. 

COAST SHEEP RANCHER Gowan Batiste who opposes the renewal of the contract said she was harassed by wildlife services employee Chris ‘Dead Dog’ Brennan of Laytonville due to her opposition to contract renewal as described in a Sunday Ukiah Daily Journal article.

In her formal written board comments Ms Gowan wrote:

“Since that article was published on July 12, I have been introduced to the culture of intimidation and harassment that exists in Wildlife Services. Both my seriously ill father and I have received threatening phone calls from a former Mendocino County trapper, current Wildlife Services employee and named individual in the lawsuit that suspended their contract here. The first time he represented himself as an angry wool grower with questions for me - the hostile tone of the message on my cell phone led me to google the number which revealed it listed as belonging to Chris Brennan. The second time he called my father, who picked up, and was told the caller was a blogger with the surname Summer who was seeking a meeting with me and wanted information about my location and contact numbers. When my father refused, Brennan shouted abuse at him and specifically mentioned my dogs in a way I consider an imminent threat. The number used to call my father was the same as before, listed as belonging to Chris Brennan. Why is a government employee trying to gain access to me by deception, albiet ineptly? Are these tactics endorsed by his employer, Wildlife Services, and are they endorsed by Mendocino County BOS? I have never had any interaction with this person before and did not name him personally when interviewed, so I believe I am being singled out due to my picture being featured in the July 12th article and being a female rancher whom he thinks he can intimidate. I demand an explanation from his employer, Wildlife Services. Can we expect this treatment should your contract be renewed?”

(Mark Scaramella)

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Honorable Supervisors, 

As indicated in previous memos and during prior Board meetings in June, MCA requests that the Board prioritize certain urgent cannabis related issues. 

Specifically, we strongly urge the Board to direct Staff to report back (at a BoS meeting or via publicly available written report) not later than July 21, 2020 on three outstanding matters: 

1. The status of the SSRs issue with respect to CDFW, the status of their processing more SSRs, the status of them approving of the County Program to do the SSRs in-house, and whether changing the ordinance to conduct SSRs in-house even if CDFW does not approve of the County program that has been submitted, 

2. The status of the meeting with CDFA and the ability to finalize and use Appendix G, what happened with the test cases that were submitted to CDFA, whether Appendix G will continue to be used to process current applications, and how many Appendix G applications are able to be submitted in what timeframe. 

3. Report on issues relevant for the BoS to have prior to discussing the possibility and feasibility of switching to a land-use based system. The relevant issues include specifically what a "streamlined" process is comprised of and how long it would take to implement; what the costs to existing applicants and permit holders would be (not just county fees but all associated fees); what additional paperwork or requirements would be required of people who have already submitted all information required under the current system; how long it would take to process the entire existing cohort of Phase 1 applicants into a new system and whether it could all be accomplished prior to the expiration of State Provisional licensing (1/1/22); whether potential "conditions" that could be placed on a discretionary review permit would create additional requirements for the existing cohort under Phase 1. 

We also request that the the Board allows prompt calendaring and clear prioritization of discussion and possible action regarding: (a) The troubleshooting and resolving the Phase 1 applicant pool's provisional License deadline; (b) keeping the current ordinance with amendments to it vs switching to a land use based system; (c) the issues of reopening legacy cultivation in light of the Equity Program Grant; and (d) that except for discussion and approval of the Equity Grant (specific program proposal) when Staff is ready to present it, other cannabis related issues take a backseat with respect to calendaring. This means that items such as Hemp, Satellite Imagery, and Innovations Zones would have to wait until the other issues are agonized and followed up on. 

Thank you for your consideration. 

Mendocino Cannabis Alliance 

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Facing a trial with jury selection to begin next Monday, July 20, defendant Francisco Javier Martinez Rodriguez, age 19, generally of the Fort Bragg area, chose instead to accept the District Attorney’s one-and-only settlement proposal.


To events occurring in late 2019 in and about Fort Bragg, defendant Martinez Rodriguez plead guilty to the following felony crimes:

Furnishing methamphetamine to a minor, said conduct occurring on and between November 15, 2019 and December 3, 2019, along with an admission that said conduct occurred in a city park;

Attempting to dissuade the victim by means of intimidation and threats of violence from reporting her victimization to law enforcement, said offense occurring on December 3, 2019 outside the Purity Market;

Assault with a knife (three separate acts aggregated into one count), said offenses occurring on December 3, 2019;

Child abuse under circumstances likely to produce great bodily harm, said offense occurring on or about December 3, 2019; 

Assault with a knife (three separate acts aggregated into one count), said offenses occurring on December 2, 2019;

Child abuse under circumstances likely to produce great bodily harm, said offense occurring on or about November 29, 2019;

Child abuse under circumstances likely to produce great bodily harm, said offense occurring on or about November 28, 2019; and

Child abuse under circumstances likely to produce great bodily harm (two separate acts aggregated into one count), said offenses occurring on November 28, 2019.

As an expressed condition of the DA’s settlement proposal, the defendant was required to agree to a state prison commitment of 18 years in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR).

At the time of the above offenses, the defendant was on supervised probation for a prior June 2019 conviction for felony vehicle theft. The defendant also admitted this morning violating the terms of that formal probation by committing the above offenses. Pursuant to California sentencing laws and the settlement, that felony probation will be terminated as unsuccessful and the defendant will serve an additional 8 months in state prison consecutive to the aforementioned 18 years.

The defendant was also on a grant of informal probation for a prior June 2019 conviction for misdemeanor petty theft from Safeway. The defendant also admitted this morning violating the terms of his informal probation by committing the above offenses. That probation will be terminated as unsuccessful when the defendant returns to court for global sentencing at 9 o’clock in the morning on August 28, 2020 in Department H of the Ukiah courthouse. 

The defendant’s matters were referred to the Adult Probation Department for a background study and sentencing statement. While the ultimate sentence has been decided, the CDCR uses the sentencing reports prepared by the local probation departments to make classification and housing decisions once a defendant is transported from the local jails to CDCR.

The law enforcement agencies that developed the evidence underlying today’s convictions were the Fort Bragg Police Department and the District Attorney’s own investigators.

The prosecutor who has been handing this case since its inception is District Attorney David Eyster.

Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Carly Dolan accepted the defendant’s change of pleas this morning, and made express factual and legal findings that the defendant “knowingly, understandingly, and intelligently” waived his constitutional rights. Judge Dolan also made factual and legal findings that the defendant’s guilty pleas and admissions were “made freely and voluntarily.” 

Now for some discouraging news. The voters approved Proposition 57 on the November 8, 2016 ballot. Prop 57 allows early parole consideration for “nonviolent” felons and authorizes enhanced sentence credits for rehabilitation, good behavior, and education. 

Within the meaning of Prop 57, a “nonviolent” conviction means any felony conviction that is not one of the twenty-one felonies expressly characterized as violent by the Legislature and listed in Penal Code section 667.5(c). 

Thus, as approved by the voters, Prop 57 gives the CDCR the discretion to treat every person sent to CDCR with multiple convictions not listed in section 667.5(c) as a first time, one count offender by adopting a single count out of all of the defendant's convictions as his or her whole sentence, the adopted count being the single count out of the whole with the most time imposed for it by the local judge. 

Depending on how the prison authorities evaluate and characterize defendant Martinez Rodriguez’s overall court-imposed sentence, the single count with the most time imposed will be a sentence of nine years. Thus, despite the Mendocino County Superior Court sentencing the defendant to 18 years, 8 months, it is quite possible that the prison authorities may only require that this defendant -- with additional 50% credits for good and work time -- serve less than 4 ½ years.

“I’m quite certain that such an outcome is not what the vast majority of voters believed they were voting for when they approved Prop 57,” said DA Eyster.

Finally, the District Attorney commented on the courage of the 17-year-old victim. “She was in a bad place with a bad actor and she knew she had to escape from his influences if she was going to survive. Despite his threats of further harm, she tricked him into letting her go alone into the Purity Market where she then was able to find help. To those Purity Market employees who could see that they had a beat-up and abused child standing before them asking for help, who then provided her refuge and called the police, thank you for getting involved and saving a young life.”

(District Attorney Press Release)

Case Background/Comment

On July 13, 2020 the Fort Bragg Police Department was made aware that Francisco Martinez-Rodriguez had plead guilty to the following crimes: 

Furnishing Methamphetamine to a minor, attempting to dissuade a victim by means of threats or intimidation, assault with a knife, and child abuse under circumstances likely to produce great bodily harm. As part of his agreement Martinez-Rodriguez agreed to confinement in a state prison for a period of 18 years. As Martinez-Rodriguez was on probation at the time of these crimes he will be required to serve an additional 8 months consecutive with the aforesaid 18 years. 

The Fort Bragg Police Department would like to thank the Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office and its investigators who worked diligently to investigate and prosecute this case. 

The original circumstances of this incident are detailed below. The original release can be located on the Fort Bragg Police Department’s website. A press release detailing further information related to charges and how this case will proceed through the courts can be located on the Mendocino County District Attorney’s Facebook page. 

Please contact the Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office for any questions regarding the status of this case. 

Original Circumstances: 

On December 3, 2019 at approximately 3:46pm, Officers from the Fort Bragg Police Department were dispatched to Purity Market for a report of a female at the location advising she had been assaulted by her boyfriend. Officers arrived and located the suspect, 

who was identified as Francisco Martinez-Rodriguez. Officers also located the victim who was hiding in the back of the store with staff. 

The victim had serious trauma and bruising on and about her face. The victim also had fresh lacerations and minor stab wounds to different parts of her body. The victim relayed to Officers that she had been physically assaulted by Martinez-Rodriguez multiple times over the course of two weeks while being held against her will. During that time Martinez- Rodriguez repeatedly stabbed the victim and forced her to cut herself as punishment. 

Officers took Martinez-Rodriguez into custody without incident and he was transported to the Mendocino County Jail where he is currently being held on the above charges. The victim was transported via ambulance to the Mendocino Coast District Hospital where she was treated for her injuries and released to her mother. 

The Fort Bragg Police Department is actively investigating to determine whether any other parties had any knowledge of, or involvement in the above events. 

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JOE BIDEN, LEXICOGRAPHER: "I do think we've reached a point, a real inflection in American history. And I don't believe it's unlike what Roosevelt was met with. I think we have an opportunity to make some really systemic change." 

RECOMMENDED VIEWING. "McMillions," now playing on HBO, is a fascinating deconstruction of the great Monopoly scam that took the hamburger franchise for millions. On a tip, the FBI bumbled its way to tracking down the perps, en route encountering some memorable characters. A second HBO production is called, "Bully, Coward, Victim: The Story of Roy Cohn." No one who knows anything about the ultimate scuzzball lawyer will be surprised by anything Cohn does, but I was unaware until this doc that Cohn was as connected as he was to so many of the people gnawing away at this country's foundations — big time criminals, Trump, show biz stars, and politicians of both parties. That a guy like Cohn can not only prosper but be celebrated, is one more indication that the final curtain is coming down.

IN THIS BUSINESS — the newspaper business — social distancing isn't a big ask. It's built in. But where we used to enjoy a steady stream of kibbitzers, whole days now pass without a single visitor. I marvel at these reports from around the country of resistance to commonsense covid-stoppers like masks and keeping one's distance from one's fellow creatures, but see no resistance at all to the distancing basics here in the Anderson Valley. The one recent visitor I did have burst into my house unannounced and yelled at me for not wearing my mask!

MS. REITH, ace reporter for KZYX, is certainly correct about the Supervisors' hiding their deliberations behind Zoom. Their chambers are large enough to socially-distance, besides which few people show up in person anyway while a few tedium connoisseurs watch gavel-to-gavel via youtube. But the public's business is supposed to be conducted in public, and by eliminating in-person attendance the public is shut out.

EVEN HILLARY suspects that Orange Man is not leaving. She appeared on The Daily Show Monday night to warn that Trump might cling to power if he loses in November. "I think it is a fair point to raise as to whether or not, if he loses, he's going to go quietly or not." She went on to claim that Trumpers would probably try to sab the vote, and that the Rooskies might also pitch in to help keep Putin's favorite white man in office. 

FEDERAL CONVICT Daniel Lewis Lee was executed last night, his last words being, "I didn't do it." And maybe he didn't murder an Arkansas family of three that included a 9-year-old girl, but we do know that Lee suffered the added cruel and unusual punishment of having his execution delayed while the Supreme Court rotely voted 5-4 to kill him. Two more guys get the midnight needle some time this week.

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Free Wildlife Virtual Summer Camp

Wildcare is a wildlife rescue and education facility in San Rafael, one of the finest in California. They are offering a free virtual summer camp for children kindergarten through 7th grade. If you have young people at home, or if you are interested in wildlife or wildlife rescue--give it a look. It's FREE and they are an excellent facility:

Ronnie James <>

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by Guy Kovner

A five-year battle over plans to log in the remote Gualala River flood plain has taken a big step up with a powerhouse environmental group’s declaration to take the case to federal court, alleging the commercial tree harvest would harm protected fish, frogs and birds.

Friends of Gualala River, a grassroots group with an email list of about 600 people, now has the legal muscle of the Center for Biological Diversity, an environmental organization with a global reach and a $20 million annual budget, on its side.

“It is a welcome turn of events,” said Charles Ivor, president of the Gualala-based group that has stalled a 342-acre state-approved timber harvest plan since 2016.

The local group secured a state appeals court order in April temporarily halting the Dogwood project pursued by Gualala Redwood Timber LLC, which owns the land

“We’ve stopped it every year,” Ivor said.

Six weeks ago he called the center in search of an ally to prevent logging along about five miles of the Gualala River and several other waterways in a 191,000-acre watershed.

 “The center jumped in,” Ivor said. It required a $175,000 payment for the legal service and the local group is seeking donations to cover the cost, he said.

“We’re going to do our best to protect this precious place,” said Peter Galvin, co-founder of the center, which claims an 83% success rate in environmental litigation.

The Gualala River, which runs along the Sonoma-Mendocino county line, is “starting to make a comeback,” he said. “This would really deal it a setback.”

In a formal notice of intent to file a federal claim, the center asserted last week the proposed logging of second-growth timber would include redwood trees of 90 to 100 years old in the flood plain of the lower Gualala River watershed.

Opponents say that work, including building temporary roads and hauling logs through the forest, would harm or kill federally protected steelhead, coho salmon, red-legged frogs, marbled murrelets and spotted owls.

Proponents Gualala Redwood Timber have twice secured state approval for the project based on dozens safeguards and assurances that endangered species, soils and water quality would not be significantly impacted.

The Endangered Species Act of 1973, called for and signed by then-President Richard Nixon, prohibits “any further harm” to a species deemed at risk of extinction, said Stuart Gross, a San Francisco attorney handling center’s case.

The center’s proposed federal action is distinct from the Friends of Gualala River state case, which challenges Cal Fire’s approval of the Dogwood timber plan.

The filing on July 9 started a mandatory 60-day period allowing both sides to discuss a settlement before the lawsuit is officially filed.

Gualala Redwood Timber and Cal Fire have that time “to fix what we’re talking about,” Gross said. “Unfortunately that rarely happens.”

The timber company did not respond to a request for comment Monday.

Felling trees along the Gualala waterways would eliminate shade that keeps water cold enough for young steelhead and salmon to survive the summer, Ivor contended.

A 2016 federal recovery plan for Northern California steelhead said logging is a “primary contributor” to the species’ dwindling numbers and cited the Gualala River as “essential” for its recovery, the center said in a press release.

Marbled murrelets, a seabird, and northern spotted owls rely on stands of old forests with dense canopies for nesting, the release said.

The Dogwood harvest plan would include an area along the Gualala River’s main stem and South Fork eyed decades ago for an expansion of Sonoma County’s Gualala Point Regional Park.

Conservation groups were unsuccessful in previous bids to purchase the land.

Ivor said his group is not opposed to “selective cutting” in the watershed “as long as it is not egregious.”

Charll Stoneman, forest manager for Gualala Redwood Timber, has previously said the harvest area, much of it clear-cut at the turn of the last century, is now so densely wooded that light cannot get through and the crowded trees can’t gain size.

The harvest plan would take the same approach as a conservation group would if it acquired the land, he said.

(Courtesy, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat)

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On 7/13/2020 8:08 PM, Betty Lou Whaley wrote:

I'm writing a short piece on Bill Hand who worked as a vet on the coast many years ago. He parked his "MASH” van on the beach east of Big River Bridge, and specialized in low cost spaying of cats. Does anyone have anecdotes they would be willing to share?

Marco McClean:

I'm not sure if it was Bill Hand or some other vet, but in like 1980 I heard on the radio that you could bring your pet to this vet truck for free; I didn't know that it was just to get a shot. A few months before, I had got a kitten from some people giving them away from a cardboard box by the front door of the grocery store, the way kids used to do. It got sick -- weak, lethargic -- and I didn't have enough money for a vet, and Late Night Liz or Suzy Zipp or Rick Bondor or somebody at KMFB had said about the free vet, so I took it to the address, stood in line for about half an hour, and when I got to the door I said, "My cat is sick." The man exploded in fury, pointed to the western sky, shouted, "Take it the hell out of here! This is for well cats!" I fled, mortified. The cat died about a week later. 

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CATCH OF THE DAY, July 14, 2020

Asher, Carter, Christopher

SPENCER ASHER, Covelo. Probation revocation.

DARRYL CARTER, Rancho Cucamonga/Willits. Failure to appear.

EMILY CHRISTOPHER, Ukiah. Child endangerment.

J. Diamond, L.Diamond, Johnson, Ortega

JASON DIAMOND, Ukiah. Contributing to delinquency of minor (apparenty having to do with truancy, but citation not clear), possession of less than 25 pounds of dangerous fireworks, resisting, probation revocation.

LUCAS DIAMOND, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, possession of less than 25 pounds of dangerous fireworks.

JASON JOHNSON, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation.

ARTEMIO ORTEGA-REYES, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, resisting. 

Salo, Treppa, Wooten, Yeomans

ERNEST SALO, Fort Bragg. Controlled substance for sale, resisting.

LANCE TREPPA, Ukiah. Transient registration, false ID, county parole violation.

DAVID WOOTEN, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation.

DANIEL YEOMANS, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, resisting, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)

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THERE'S THIS NEW WEIRD SORT OF FASCISM of people thinking they know what you can say and what you can't and it's a really weird thing. Just because you're offended it doesn't mean you're right. 

— Ricky Gervais

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by Bari Weiss

Dear A.G.,

It is with sadness that I write to tell you that I am resigning from The New York Times.

I joined the paper with gratitude and optimism three years ago. I was hired with the goal of bringing in voices that would not otherwise appear in your pages: first-time writers, centrists, conservatives and others who would not naturally think of The Times as their home. The reason for this effort was clear: The paper’s failure to anticipate the outcome of the 2016 election meant that it didn’t have a firm grasp of the country it covers. Dean Baquet and others have admitted as much on various occasions. The priority in Opinion was to help redress that critical shortcoming.

I was honored to be part of that effort, led by James Bennet. I am proud of my work as a writer and as an editor. Among those I helped bring to our pages: the Venezuelan dissident Wuilly Arteaga; the Iranian chess champion Dorsa Derakhshani; and the Hong Kong Christian democrat Derek Lam. Also: Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Masih Alinejad, Zaina Arafat, Elna Baker, Rachael Denhollander, Matti Friedman, Nick Gillespie, Heather Heying, Randall Kennedy, Julius Krein, Monica Lewinsky, Glenn Loury, Jesse Singal, Ali Soufan, Chloe Valdary, Thomas Chatterton Williams, Wesley Yang, and many others.

But the lessons that ought to have followed the election — lessons about the importance of understanding other Americans, the necessity of resisting tribalism, and the centrality of the free exchange of ideas to a democratic society — have not been learned. Instead, a new consensus has emerged in the press, but perhaps especially at this paper: that truth isn’t a process of collective discovery, but an orthodoxy already known to an enlightened few whose job is to inform everyone else.

Twitter is not on the masthead of The New York Times. But Twitter has become its ultimate editor. As the ethics and mores of that platform have become those of the paper, the paper itself has increasingly become a kind of performance space. Stories are chosen and told in a way to satisfy the narrowest of audiences, rather than to allow a curious public to read about the world and then draw their own conclusions. I was always taught that journalists were charged with writing the first rough draft of history. Now, history itself is one more ephemeral thing molded to fit the needs of a predetermined narrative.

My own forays into Wrongthink have made me the subject of constant bullying by colleagues who disagree with my views. They have called me a Nazi and a racist; I have learned to brush off comments about how I’m “writing about the Jews again.” Several colleagues perceived to be friendly with me were badgered by coworkers. My work and my character are openly demeaned on company-wide Slack channels where masthead editors regularly weigh in. There, some coworkers insist I need to be rooted out if this company is to be a truly “inclusive” one, while others post ax emojis next to my name. Still other New York Times employees publicly smear me as a liar and a bigot on Twitter with no fear that harassing me will be met with appropriate action. They never are.

There are terms for all of this: unlawful discrimination, hostile work environment, and constructive discharge. I’m no legal expert. But I know that this is wrong.

I do not understand how you have allowed this kind of behavior to go on inside your company in full view of the paper’s entire staff and the public. And I certainly can’t square how you and other Times leaders have stood by while simultaneously praising me in private for my courage. Showing up for work as a centrist at an American newspaper should not require bravery.

Part of me wishes I could say that my experience was unique. But the truth is that intellectual curiosity — let alone risk-taking — is now a liability at The Times. Why edit something challenging to our readers, or write something bold only to go through the numbing process of making it ideologically kosher, when we can assure ourselves of job security (and clicks) by publishing our 4000th op-ed arguing that Donald Trump is a unique danger to the country and the world? And so self-censorship has become the norm.

What rules that remain at The Times are applied with extreme selectivity. If a person’s ideology is in keeping with the new orthodoxy, they and their work remain unscrutinized. Everyone else lives in fear of the digital thunderdome. Online venom is excused so long as it is directed at the proper targets.

Op-eds that would have easily been published just two years ago would now get an editor or a writer in serious trouble, if not fired. If a piece is perceived as likely to inspire backlash internally or on social media, the editor or writer avoids pitching it.

If she feels strongly enough to suggest it, she is quickly steered to safer ground. And if, every now and then, she succeeds in getting a piece published that does not explicitly promote progressive causes, it happens only after every line is carefully massaged, negotiated and caveated.

It took the paper two days and two jobs to say that the Tom Cotton op-ed “fell short of our standards.” We attached an editor’s note on a travel story about Jaffa shortly after it was published because it “failed to touch on important aspects of Jaffa’s makeup and its history.” But there is still none appended to Cheryl Strayed’s fawning interview with the writer Alice Walker, a proud anti-Semite who believes in lizard Illuminati.

The paper of record is, more and more, the record of those living in a distant galaxy, one whose concerns are profoundly removed from the lives of most people. This is a galaxy in which, to choose just a few recent examples, the Soviet space program is lauded for its “diversity”; the doxxing of teenagers in the name of justice is condoned; and the worst caste systems in human history includes the United States alongside Nazi Germany.

Even now, I am confident that most people at The Times do not hold these views. Yet they are cowed by those who do. Why? Perhaps because they believe the ultimate goal is righteous. Perhaps because they believe that they will be granted protection if they nod along as the coin of our realm — language — is degraded in service to an ever-shifting laundry list of right causes. Perhaps because there are millions of unemployed people in this country and they feel lucky to have a job in a contracting industry.

Or perhaps it is because they know that, nowadays, standing up for principle at the paper does not win plaudits. It puts a target on your back. Too wise to post on Slack, they write to me privately about the “new McCarthyism” that has taken root at the paper of record.

All this bodes ill, especially for independent-minded young writers and editors paying close attention to what they’ll have to do to advance in their careers. Rule One: Speak your mind at your own peril. Rule Two: Never risk commissioning a story that goes against the narrative. Rule Three: Never believe an editor or publisher who urges you to go against the grain. Eventually, the publisher will cave to the mob, the editor will get fired or reassigned, and you’ll be hung out to dry.

For these young writers and editors, there is one consolation. As places like The Times and other once-great journalistic institutions betray their standards and lose sight of their principles, Americans still hunger for news that is accurate, opinions that are vital, and debate that is sincere. I hear from these people every day. “An independent press is not a liberal ideal or a progressive ideal or a democratic ideal. It’s an American ideal,” you said a few years ago. I couldn’t agree more. America is a great country that deserves a great newspaper.

None of this means that some of the most talented journalists in the world don’t still labor for this newspaper. They do, which is what makes the illiberal environment especially heartbreaking. I will be, as ever, a dedicated reader of their work. But I can no longer do the work that you brought me here to do — the work that Adolph Ochs described in that famous 1896 statement: “to make of the columns of The New York Times a forum for the consideration of all questions of public importance, and to that end to invite intelligent discussion from all shades of opinion.”

Ochs’s idea is one of the best I’ve encountered. And I’ve always comforted myself with the notion that the best ideas win out. But ideas cannot win on their own. They need a voice. They need a hearing. Above all, they must be backed by people willing to live by them.



* * *


California gold miner with daguerreotype and letter, circa 1852

* * *

"...WHEN I READ SONTAG for the first time, as when I read Hanna Arendt, Emily Dickinson, or Pascal for the first time, I experienced every now and then one of those sudden bursts of ecstasy, subtle and perhaps micro-chemical—tiny lights flashing in the deepest part of the tissue of the brain—something that occurs when we finally find the words to express a very simple feeling that, nevertheless, had remained nameless until that moment."

—Valeria Luiselli from Lost Children Archive

* * *


I note that the comments here regardless of position taken, are generally from intelligent people. However, that isn’t the case with the vast, vast majority of the public including the voter category. Most cannot name their two state senators. Most cannot locate a given country on a map. Most are clueless of who Churchill was and why he might be important. Most have zero idea of what communism is and its sordid history of massive deaths. Throw in what the Federal Reserve does or what inflation really is and there is no avoiding disasters upon disasters. Typically it takes some 1500 hours of training to cut and style hair (so I’ve read somewhere) but it takes zero training to become a parent. It takes zero intelligence to vote. Am I a snob? Do I give a damn? We are on a downhill run with a national collapse going on. There is no solution. The deal is done. The question is how bad the pain will get? I’m thinking really, really, really bad.

* * *



  1. mr. wendal July 15, 2020


    I was surprised, and curious about, the percentages given by Sheriff Kendall. I was also surprised, although I don’t know why, when no one bothered to ask a single question about them. What is the data? 38 and 25 percent of what numbers and what time frames?

    What does Health and Human Services have to say about this? Exactly how is the money that the county is shoveling over to Redwood Community Services being spent? If you talk with people here on the coast needing help with their mental health problems, you learn that many of them are still unable to get the help they need. Then they give up. But the County continues to send more money to an ineffective private organization without requiring simple data.

  2. George Hollister July 15, 2020

    The Bari Weiss resignation letter is a reflection of a sickness, all too human, that has infected the liberal community in America, and the West. It has been long in coming. The NYT is not the center, the American college campus is. Places like UC Berkeley are front and center.

    One should not wonder why anyone should be voting for Donald Trump, with all his displayed negative attributes. Just look at what his opposition overtly represents in places like the NYT, media in general, and our college campuses; and Trump almost seems saintly. Hard to believe.

    • chuck dunbar July 15, 2020

      The cancel culture (and its related claptrap) is a distraction from our real-world problems. But it is indeed a craziness that I hope will fade away, burned-out by its own negative power.

      But George, in your imagined contrast, Trump hardly seems “almost saintly.” Trump and his administration run their own quite powerful and nationally consequential cancel culture. He loves to fire administration figures, a few of whom, especially in the beginning, were actually competent and smart–Tillerson, Mattis, McMaster, Kelly, etc. The complete list of all the staff that Trump has fired/ canceled is a very long one, and governmental chaos in general has been the result. What Trump is looking for, as we all should know by now, is sycophants to do his personal, political dirty work, no dissent accepted. Mike Pence and Barr are perfect examples. Dr. Fauci is of course the current soon-to-be victim of such cancellation.

      And larger, much more problematic issues also are subject to this same dynamic. Climate change and the corona virus have been touted by Trump as “hoaxes,” dismissed out of hand as made-up issues that need no effective governmental response. That this dynamic is so self-evident, I do wonder-a whole lot- why anyone of intelligence would consider voting for Trump.

      • James Marmon July 15, 2020

        The “chaos in general” is that everyone has their own agenda and they try to control Trump. Trump will never lead from behind and that’s why many of us voted for him and will do so again. If you want a puppet for President vote for Biden.

        James Marmon

        • chuck dunbar July 15, 2020

          So not to argue this at length, as I accept that you are a Trump supporter and no doubt will be so ongoing, and you are also a smart, caring person. That may be hard for me to understand, but there are lots of things in this world that I don’t get.

          But Trump does not lead effectively in so many important areas where we are desperate for leadership: Two examples are well known: 1. The current covid crisis where he has clearly not offered effective federal leadership and now we are floundering so badly and paying such a high price. 2. Health insurance where Trump has failed for over 3 years to introduce any kind of decent, affordable alternative to Obama care (that he still attacks and wants to end per the current Supreme Court.) The newest issue in the health care crisis, of course, is the pandemic, and the concurrent loss of health insurance by over 5 million Americans in the early part of this year. No attempts by Trump or the senate to address this, just the continued attempts to cripple Obama care. Americans deserve better.

          We need a Lincoln or an FDR to help us deal with these issues and others too. As smart and humane as these 2 presidents were, they also had the good sense, especially FDR, to put together a smart, productive team to help us survive. No president can serve on his own, no one is capable of that. And Trump especially cannot lead on his own as he’s neither smart nor humane. It’s our great misfortune that he is at the helm now.

          • Pat Kittle July 15, 2020

            It’s time to act like adults.

            Take your pick:

            1) Reduce carbon emissions.
            2) Invite everyone on Earth to move to its most notorious carbon emitter (i.e., “open borders”).

      • George Hollister July 15, 2020

        Chuck, a good example of what I am talking about is the canceling of open intellectual discussion, on any aspect of the “Climate Change” narrative, in all it’s every growing aspects. Anyone offering to discuss any aspect that deviates from the narrative is answered by being called a “denier”. This comes from NYT, and from every college campus in America. Now Biden wants to embark on a $2 trillion push to end hydrocarbon use by 2030. This is more than a distraction, and lots of Americans can unnecessarily be hurt. The only hope here is that many Democrats are not serious about it, and will find ways to derail it.

  3. James Marmon July 15, 2020


    BREAKING: Trump Orders Hospitals to Stop Sending COVID-19 Data to CDC

    “As of July 15, 2020, hospitals should no longer report the Covid-19 information in this document to the National Healthcare Safety Network site” the directive states, referring to the CDC’s data-gathering system.

    “Health and Human Services said that going forward, hospitals should report detailed information on a daily basis directly to the new centralized system, which is managed by TeleTracking, a health data firm with headquarters in Pittsburgh.”

    James Marmon MSW

    P.S. How come the County quit listing “Recovered” on their dashboard”? Now they just list “Released from Isolation”. This all smells of 5th District Supervisor Ted Williams who had problems with the word “Recovered” claiming that it could give people a “false sense of hope”.

    • Ted Williams July 15, 2020

      James, “Released from Isolation” is precisely the data public health receives. “Recovered” would be an assumption.

      • James Marmon July 15, 2020

        Experts don’t have information about the outcome of every infection. However, early estimates predict that the overall COVID-19 recovery rate is between 97% and 99.75%. That should give some of us a little hope, shouldn’t it?


      • James Marmon July 15, 2020

        When I struggled with Drugs and Alcohol as a young man the Director of Transition Place Recovery Center here in Clearlake and I had a conversation about A.A. and the assumption that you can never recover “once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic”. He looked at me and asked one question: “If you’re not going to recover, then why are you in recovery?” Are you wanting all of us to assume no one will ever recover from Covid? If so, show me the science.

        • Ted Williams July 15, 2020

          @James, one of the “recovered” never made it home. Hopefully released from isolation will translate to recovered, but we shouldn’t state assumptions?

  4. Lazarus July 15, 2020


    If ever we needed this guy, it is now…

    Be well,

  5. James Marmon July 15, 2020


    Teddy young man, I understand that if a person tests positive two or 3 times, they’re counting those as 2 or three cases on the COUNTY DASHBOARD. Can you assure me that this isn’t happening? The dashboard shows positive test results as cases but doesn’t specify how many people have really contacted the virus. This is going on all over the Country and it’s why Trump has ordered hospitals to stop sending COVID-19 Data to CDC and instead send their information to a new centralized system that will be more accurate and hold Counties, States, and Hospitals more accountable for reporting real covid cases.

    Cases, Cases, Cases.

    James Marmon MSW

    • Ted Williams July 15, 2020

      @James, the dashboard counts are unique. Multiple positives by a patient count once.

  6. Nate Collins July 16, 2020

    Bari Weiss is pure crap. She’s an establishment group thinker trying to get noticed here. Pot calling the kettle black.

  7. Pat Kittle July 16, 2020

    “If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all.”
    — Noam Chomsky

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