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MCT: Saturday, September 12, 2020

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WIDESPREAD UNHEALTHY SMOKE AND HAZE, particulary bad in Willits. Daytime highs in the 70s and low 80s. 50s overnight. Light winds. Slight chance of rain late Tuesday into Wednesday. 

"The smoke has been wrapped at least 1,000 miles west into a cyclone, and also is wafting far southeast, over Ariz." (Andrew Freedman)

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OAK FIRE UPDATE: 362 STILL DISPLACED from Oak Fire as of Friday night after about 4,000 mostly Brooktrails residents returned. Fire has not grown past previously reported 1100 acres. 25 structures reported destroyed and ten damaged. Containment up to 45%. 

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AUGUST COMPLEX fire up to 755,000 acres (largest fire in California history) as of Friday night with no containment on eastern (Mendocino) side/border, around 60-70 miles of active fire running along the entire eastern border of Mendocino County. And no reported containment elsewhere either.

FROM INCIWEB (US Forest Service)

The August Complex was initially 37 different fires on the Mendocino National Forest that started on August 17, 2020. Many have been contained or have merged. The largest active fire on the August Complex is the Doe Fire, currently at 471,185 acres at 24 percent contained burning in five counties: Glenn County, Mendocino County, Lake County, Tehama County and Trinity County. Actual acreage is subject to change as fire activity progresses throughout the day.

Originally the Elkhorn, Hopkins and the Vinegar fires were started by the same lightning storm.  Those three fires have merged and are now called the Elkhorn Fire and are being managed as a separate incident.

Although the Elkhorn Fire and August Complex Fire actually touch, a division line was drawn to allow the separate incident teams to focus on their individual fire areas.  Communication between teams continues to remain paramount as fire perimeters continue to expand.  

A large scale wind event on Tuesday and Wednesday this week caused westward expansion beyond control lines previously established.  Fire managers are executing new fireline construction and strategies.  The August Complex Fire will transition from the Southern Area Blue Incident Management Team to the Great Basin Incident Management Team on Friday at 6:00 a.m.


Mandatory Evacuation Order for area of Covelo, Mendocino Pass Road, East of Williams Creek. Evacuation area is referenced as Zone N and defined as the following:

North of the Middle Fork of the Eel River including the Eel River Ranger Station and Black Butte Store, West and South of the National Forest Boundary, East of Williams Creek.

Leave now. Use safest evacuation routes possible. Monitor media and Nixle. Do not call 9 1 1 for information. Call 9 1 1 for life-threatening emergency only. Use safest evacuation route possible.

For maps go to 

THURSDAY NIGHT just a couple of miles past the Eel River Work Center on FH7 #AugustComplex. Unfortunately, the #AugustComplex fire is the largest in recorded history. To get more information on this fire please visit

Sheriff Matt Kendall and Lieutenant Shannon Barney share information on the #AugustComplex on KYBU Radio twice a day (8:30am & 4pm). If you can't tune in, you can listen online at .

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SUPERVISOR JOHN MCCOWEN said Friday night that many local retail businesses find themselves in a bind with indoor activity restricted by the covid orders and outdoor activity restricted by the widespread unhealthy smoke.

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From: Wendy <>

"Air Now" is a government resource to check air quality. You can type in your location. The reading for Mendocino at the moment is 150. Santa Rosa is about 175. Tomorrow is predicted to be in the “very unhealthy” category. Ashland, Oregon is at the top of this scale with a “very hazardous” reading of 400.

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(photo by Anne Fashauer)

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Mendocino County Air Quality Management District and Mendocino County Public Health Department encourage Mendocino County residents to plan for poor air quality conditions caused by future wildfire smoke. Smoke and ash from wildfires contain very small particles known as particulate matter. These particles harm the lungs and heart, and can cause coughing, wheezing, difficulty breathing, chest pain, nausea, and in severe instances, premature mortality. People with heart or lung disease, seniors, kids, and pregnant women are especially sensitive to smoke.

Stay indoors for protection from wildfire smoke

The best protection against wildfire smoke is to stay indoors as much as possible when smoke is present. The following steps help to safeguard for your family to have safe indoor air quality.

Protect Against Wildfire Smoke by Creating a “Clean Air Room”

Choosing & Using an Air Purifier 

  • Pick a HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) purifier to reduce particulate matter indoors by 90 percent. These can be purchased at hardware stores or online retailers.
  • Make sure that the device doesn’t create ozone – find a list of safe options online:
  • HEPA purifiers come in various makes and models, suitable for different room sizes.
  • Use the purifier in a room where you spend a lot of time, like a bedroom.
  • HEPA purifiers for an average-sized bedroom cost approximately $75.
  • Check your windows and doors and make sure the room is sealed tightly so smoke from the outdoors does not get pulled inside.
  • Replace the filter as directed in the owner’s manual. Filters need to be replaced more frequently if used during a wildfire.

Do It Yourself construction of an air purifier

Making Your Own Air Purifier

  • Assembling a DIY version of an air purifier can be a more affordable option, with materials costing approximately $40.
  • This DIY version has been shown to reduce harmful particulate matter indoors similarly to a HEPA purifier.
  • Here’s how to make your own:
  • Use tape to attach a 20x20 MERV-rated air filter — like what you would use for your HVAC system — to the back of a 20”x 20” box fan. Attaching to the back of the fan creates a better seal.
  • Use a filter with a MERV rating of 13.
  • Check the filter for the direction of the airflow, marked on the side of the filter.
  • Check your windows and doors and make sure the room is sealed tightly so smoke from the outdoors is not pulled inside.
  • Replace the filter more frequently if used during a wildfire.
  • As needed, disassemble the box fan to wipe away any accumulated dirt.
  • For safety, follow these precautions:
  • Don’t leave the device unattended.
  • Turn off the device while sleeping.
  • When the fan is modified in this way, use the device as an air cleaner, not as fan to cool your home. 

Tips for indoor air quality

Minimizing Sources of Indoor Air Pollution 

  • In addition to using a HEPA air purifier, follow these recommendations:
  • If advised to stay inside, keep windows and doors shut and sealed tightly.
  • If temperatures are high and there is no way to keep the home cool with windows and doors shut, consider temporarily relocating to an area with better air quality until conditions improve.
  • Upgrade your filter in your HVAC system to a MERV filter, with a MERV rating of at least 13. Check with your HVAC professional to see what MERV rating your HVAC system can handle to ensure proper functionality. 
  • Do not smoke or burn firewood, candles, or incense in the house.
  • Use your range hood while cooking, especially when using a gas stove.
  • Consider using professional services for a blower door test to detect air leaks. This service can help you know how to properly seal your home.

During wildfires, there are various ways to stay updated on local air quality conditions:
Check hourly air quality conditions, daily air forecasts, and sign up to receive air quality alerts, at: For smoke, air quality and federal fires, visit

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by Joseph Hart


My name is Joseph Hart. I want to detail the record which can all be verified in the court and police reports of the illegal and corrupt actions that have happened to me by the Mendocino County officials and the real outcome of my trial that you wrote about in your latest issue. 

Joseph Hart

[AVA, 9/2/2020] “I'VE GOT a call in to Jan Cole-Wilson whose lawyerly abilities I've always admired. (Seriously. I'm not just buttering her up to get a call-back, which I don’t expect.) She's second in command to Mr. Aaron, Public Defender. I called her this Wednesday, having never once in forty years ever getting a call back from the Public Defender's office — on the off chance she would talk to me about The People vs. Joseph Phillip Hart. I have the DA's presser notifying the public that Hart was found guilty of a "knife attack" which occurred under a Willits overpass back in early March. Hart got a jury trial that lasted 7 days, which means Cole-Wilson really went to bat for the guy. I want to know what her defense was. Simple question. I assume Hart pled self-defense, and I doubt the fight was with a vegetarian Gandhian. If she doesn't call back, I'll drive over the hill to have a look at the case file and let you know what I find.”

I am a 43-year-old small-business owner who has lived between Mendocino County and Kauai, Hawaii for the last 13 years. I breed a unique hibiscus crop commonly called “Kenaf” (Hibiscus cannabinus L.),, and work within the oil and gas and wastewater industries on environmental performance issues through the use of renewable materials made from this crop.

I generally spend late spring through the end of summer in Covelo doing an organic grow with a group of "friends." From fall through early spring I am in Kawai breeding Kenaf for seed. Then I go to Houston Texas in late spring to attend oil and gas tradeshows pushing these renewable solutions and my book that I published on the subject of the kenaf: Plant-based Solutions for Industrial Growth and Environmental Regeneration.

In late February as the trade shows were being canceled and Kanai was talking to locking down and bringing in the National Guard because of covid, which they did, I got a call from what I thought was my long-time "friend," Jairen Sylvester: who told me he had gotten a great 90 acre property up Spy Rock Road, and asking if I would be willing to come help him cover the rent and clean up the property. We would split the crop. 

This is a guy who has worked for me off and on for the last 10 years. I have housed, fed and clothed and even traveled with him. So when he described the property with large spring pools, creeks, a river and views, I was totally game, especially since the country is going weird and I'm not a fan of Covelo anymore.

I got to the property the first week of March. He had things that I kept in storage in Covelo with a place set up for me. I went into town and spent almost $2000 to buy propane, gasoline, seeds and plant starts of all kinds and plenty of food to eat as he was up there with no money and a box of Ramen noodles almost empty.

I spent three weeks cleaning up garbage on this land. The previous owners had left, as their operation had apparently ended in multiple murders and was filled with trash. 

During this time we were the only two people up there and there wasn't a single argument or conflict. (As his police report will attest.)

On March 29 I checked the "grow room" with all the veggies, herbs and cannabis starts and I saw that they were all covered in mold because he had been overwatering and failing to turn on the lights. When I told him about this he got all defensive telling me, "It's none of your business, I got this." 

I reminded him, since I paid for everything, it is my business. I did not see him again until the next morning, March 30, when he walked into the geodesic dome where I stayed with a .38 caliber pistol in his hand telling me, "I want social distancing," and that I had to get off the property.

After almost 2 hours of him screaming and yelling and telling me he was going to kill me if I didn't hurry up, I got my things packed in a truck he had. Due to epilepsy I have no license and currently have no vehicle of my own here.

We rode in silence down Spy Rock except for him smoking a bong at the bottom of Spy Rock at Highway 101. He pulled over and said he was going to hide his bong while we went into town. I got out and urinated at this time. But since it was raining, and covid was around, and I had a whole truck load full of stuff, I did get back in expecting to get out in Laytonville. Big mistake!

He refused to stop in Laytonville telling me he was going to Willits and I could get out there. Just north of Highway 162 on 101 we hydroplaned as he was smoking the bong that he never dropped off at the bottom of Spy Rock. When we hydroplaned a second time into oncoming traffic I just wanted to get out! 

According to his court testimony I asked to be let out at least 10 times. I even tried calling 911 by the rest stop 10 miles north of Willits to which he replied and screamed, "There is no emergency, he just wants to go to the bathroom."

I lost reception at some point on that first 911 call. When we got off on the North Willits exit I told him to let me out! He responded by hitting me in the face and telling me to “quit being a bitch."

At that point I began throwing punches at him and pressing him against the driver's door holding his right arm not knowing if he still had the gun on him. During this time I was calling for help, asking people to call the police and to open the door for me. The first five or six cars just kept driving.

At this point I saw that he was reaching for a knife he had under his left leg next to his bong. I grabbed it. It turned out to be one of two knives in a case and I did stick him in the leg two times as I was calling for help. According to his testimony he didn't realize he had been stabbed, and he tried to grab the other knife and told me, "I'm going to cut you up!"

I told him to stop and let me out. When he didn't, I stabbed him in the side at which time he said, "Okay, okay, I'm going to let you out. Please don't stab me again," and I did not. I told him to just stop and let me out! He got out and ran to a Caltrans truck that had pulled over as I called 911 and waited for the sheriff. 

When I saw the blood trail to the Caltrans truck I was hollering, "Please bring him to the hospital" the Caltrans man said no.

I waited for a sheriff to arrive. I was completely cooperative. In return I was left alongside the road, and handcuffed for almost 8 hours. I had two grand mal seizures and had to urinate all over myself multiple times. They did call an ambulance. They told the first one that I had claimed I was okay.

When I was booked into jail the real nightmare started. First at the status hearing they falsely claimed I had multiple previous convictions. I have only one previous conviction, almost 25 years ago in Illinois. 

I was given a $500,000 bond because of the multiple false claims. I was put in solitary confinement and I have been in solitary confinement since March 31 with my only disciplinary infraction being on July 22 for insolence.

My first month here I was ridiculed and even put in a padded cell with just a hole in the ground that was full of urine and feces because jail staff said I was faking my seizures. 

Gratefully there was a nurse who called to my neurologist and confirmed that I have epilepsy and have severe seizures. I have still not seen a doctor but they have occasionally offered me a couple of different medications which if they simply read my medical files would see I am either allergic to or they should not try to administer them without doing blood testing first which they have not done.

I offered to take a lie detector test and drug tests as I wasn't on drugs. I have never done meth, or heroine and I don't drink, etc. 

At first the district attorney told a judge that I didn't have a scratch on me. But then the police reports and booking photos showed I had minor cuts on my hands and bruises on my neck and head.

To add insult to injury, all my personal things I had at the scene and in the truck, all my business computers and backup drives, a rare coin collection I have been collecting since I was 11, a crystal collection, clothes and six pounds of weed was supposedly "shredded” thirty days after my arrest which would be in violation of state and federal law. I had $788 in my wallet when I was arrested. I only had $588 when I got to the jail — all of this is documented.

As for the trial which could be watched on youtube at “Mendocino County Jury Trial,” you can see that the Mendocino County sheriffs never fingerprinted Mr. Sylvester's knife, never went back to Spy Rock to look for weapons, even though Mr. Sylvester admitted he had a 12 gauge. They never even really searched the scene for the .38. But Detective Sergio Ochoa-Pedroza did admit on the stand that he would have shot Sylvester if he had done that to him.

Sylvester admitted to refusing to let me out of the truck even though I asked him at least 10 times. He admitted to going down the road smoking the bong even though he has a couple of previous DUIs. He admitted I was calling for help as we were fighting in the truck.

In the end the jury came back with an irregular "double verdict." They were clearly instructed by Judge Dolan to deliver one of three verdicts: Not guilty by self-defense; Guilty by a misdemeanor; or Guilty by a felony.

After the verdict was read and the jury was relieved, my lawyer realized that the verdict said, "Guilty of misdemeanor and Guilty of a felony," which is impossible since I had only one charge and Judge Dolan's instructions were clear in having one verdict.

I go back to court on September 18 and I expect Judge Carly Dolan will do the right thing and call a mistrial. I will then demand the district attorney make a public apology and a correct press release demanded by law. I feel they know this but are trying to prejudice the case. 

I did not take any of their plea offers -- eight years, four years, three years, probation with a four-year suspended -- because I was defending myself.

I appreciate the work Ms. Jan Cole Wilson did on my behalf. She is probably overworked and underappreciated. Every private attorney I contacted wanted $30,000-$50,000 upfront for this case which is not over! I will take this all the way to the Supreme Court if I have to and I am definitely preparing a federal suit to file in the Ninth District over the way they violated my rights, destroyed my business essentials and property while leaving me numerous times in a cell having seizures.

There are court records, police reports and evidence of all of this!

Thank you all for taking the time to read this. One final thing: I never wanted to do that to him. I am in no way proud of what happened and I genuinely only did that in self-defense because I was afraid of being stabbed after having gone through a very intense and stressful three hours with him.


Joseph Hart A# 39961

951 Low Gap Road

Ukiah, CA 95482

PS. Please check the following websites so you may know my real motives and the kind of person I am:

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IT’S FUNNY WHAT UKIAH UBER-REALTOR Richard Selzer writes about as covid spreads, fires rage, property values plummet, etc. This week his topic was odors in Mendo homes and how they might make homes harder to sell and what to do about them. For example: 

“Although marijuana is legal according to California state law, cleaning up after an indoor grow is no fun. Start by cleaning all hard surfaces with hot water and soap. If necessary, follow up with a 50/50 water-vinegar solution. Then have the carpets professionally cleaned. If you notice a strange chemical smell that reminds you of nail polish remover or cat urine, your property may have been used to manufacture meth. Since meth is water-soluble, you can use the same cleaning techniques as those used for marijuana. Because processing meth can leave behind toxic chemicals, it’s best to hire a professional cleaning company to decontaminate the property. If you find any meth, call the police. PS. If you have to do extra cleaning after a tenant leaves, you may be able to charge the tenant for the expense. Be sure your lease agreement is explicit about what is allowed and what isn’t."

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ANOTHER UKIAH ARSONIST - Lake County woman also suspected of arson in Willits…

A Lake County woman was arrested Wednesday for allegedly starting a fire along the railroad tracks near the Adventist Health Ukiah Valley hospital in Ukiah, the Ukiah Police Department reported.

According to the UPD, around 1:30 p.m. Sept. 9, several people called 911 to report a fire near the railroad tracks in the 200 block of Hospital Drive. Authorities were also advised that the person who had possibly started the fire was still parked in the area.

When officers and personnel from the Ukiah Valley Fire Authority responded to the scene, they found that the fire had been extinguished by citizens. The fire reportedly burned vegetation and bark next to multiple medical buildings, and a woman had been seen “discarding a burning piece of paper in the area where the fire started.”

When officers contacted the woman, identified as Michele L. Gray, aka Michele Huey, of Lucerne, they learned she had a felony warrant issued last month for her arrest in connection to “four arson cases in the Willits area on Christmas Eve 2019.”


Gray was then arrested on suspicion of arson, and arson during a state of emergency, for the Sept. 9 fire, and on the warrant for the fires in December of 2019. Before booking Gray into Mendocino County Jail, officers contacted a Superior Court judge and were granted a bail enhancement of $25,000.

The UPD thanked “the alert citizens who reported the fire as well as Gray’s actions,” and requested that anyone with additional information regarding the incident call 707-463-6262.

(via Ukiah Daily Journal)

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GATHERING A TACO at Hi-Noon In the Mission on Sept 9, 2020

photo by Dennis Hearne

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AN ESTIMATED half a million Oregonians—more than 10 percent of the state’s entire population—have fled their homes as an unprecedented number of wildfires burn out of control. The staggering number came from Oregon’s Office of Emergency Management late Thursday and was reported by the Associated Press. State officials have been shocked by the sheer number of major fires which, as of Thursday, stood at 37. Gov. Kate Brown said more than 900,000 acres of her state have burned over the past three days, explaining: “We have never seen this amount of uncontained fire across the state.” She said at a Thursday press conference: “We are feeling the acute impacts of climate change. We are seeing its acute impacts in Oregon, on the West Coast and frankly in the entire world.” Fire officials now expect two of the state’s largest wildfires to combine due to strong winds pushing them closer and closer together.

CLIMATE CHANGE CONFIRMATION, so now what will the leadership do beyond lamenting global catastrophe?

AS WE ALL KNOW by now because most of us are cyber-connected, all kinds of odd messages waft into our intake boxes every day, all day. Why this one came to me, I have no idea because I never heard of Corolla, a podcaster apparently popular with the dudes, but it caught my fragged attention: "Comics have a shelf milk. Eventually they get sour, then thrown out when you get a whiff after letting them sit for a while. Very few avoid this fate. The ones that resonate have an innate ability to manage their shtick, interpret the zeitgeist and put their spin on it. We all know who they are...we never miss them live, watch youtube snippets of them and remember their great bits. Corolla was never one of these comics. His audience, male, immature, angry, white and aggrieved are kind of the very bottom of shock jock Howard Stern's audience. They laugh at other people's pain, loss, and stupidity. And then, for a moment, feel better about themselves. Carolla is now, thankfully, obsolete. The only person who hasn't figured that out is Carolla."

COMICS aren't the only people with a shelf life. I'm a decade or so past my pull date, but here I am, shouting into the void via the ava, socially distanced since 1984. I agree about comics, at least the few I'm familiar with. Howard Stern, to cite one painfully unfunny comedian I saw about ten minutes of once only, and was so repulsed I still shudder at the mention of his name. The only old time comedian who makes me laugh (still) is W.C. Fields. Not sure if it's simply a consequence of advanced age, but the simpering little ironies and preening self-regard of the late night boys leaves me cold. If I want laughs I go straight to Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock, both of whom remind me of black guys I knew as a kid when I noticed, in a rare flash of insight years after everyone else, that my black friends were far more sensitive than the white boys; the white girls of the time seemed about as sensitive to people beyond themselves as beach sand. I concluded that black people were more alert, and hyper-attuned to absurdities, because they had to be, that reading the white wave wrong could be dangerous to them. Lenny Bruce was the break-through white comedian, and he was as attuned as any black comic.

MENTION of podcasts has me marvelling at the sheer number of people out there clamoring for our attentions, tugging at our shirtsleeves round-the-clock. I get podcast recommendations all the time. I've never heard one and don't feel I'm missing anything. There just isn't the time. Or, in my case, the inclination to put down the books and mags that are my preferred info intake valves. 

RECENT EVENTS seem to have taught the newly political how to spell fascist and apocalypse and socialist but proper usage is still hazy on what these terms mean. And here comes “Marxist” for even more befuddlement and incorrect deployment by people who pronounce liberal as librul. Marx wrote when little kids were working as coal miners which, by some quirk of his personality, he thought was wrong and began investigating the social arrangements that made child labor possible. He found that deadly exploitation was the condition of most people because money, if you had a little, could become a lot if you got people to work for you real cheap, And the rest is history, although for a while in America, circa 1940, a fair system of taxation kinda evened things out. All the rest of the stuff the rightwing presently doesn't like has since been piled onto Marx as all-purpose social boogeyman. When the Trumpian hysterics talk about the non-existent takeover of colleges by Marxists, and how the Marxists are coming to get Whitey even in the suburbs and force rednecks to have sex changes, the scare has nothing to do with Marx. Marx showed us how the money moves relentlessly on up into fewer and fewer hands if it isn't fairly distributed. Really, what's so scary about that to most Trumpians, most of whom have no money?

IT'S NOT OFTEN that I read something so startling I get to slapping myself and pacing around the room muttering, "Goddam! How come I hadn't heard that before?" But tell me if you knew that only Hitler's racism prevented the Germans from allying with the Japanese against the Russians in 1941, which, if they had affiliated when the Germans had the Russians on the ropes via Barbarossa, World War Two probably would have been lost by the good guys. Read all about it in "Inferno: The World at War, 1939-1945 by Max Hastings." 

FOR YOU, a drinker of California wine, there are no risks.

First of all, consuming smoke-tainted wine is not known to be harmful to health in any way. Drinking a smoky Pinot Noir is not like standing outdoors in smoky air. More to the point, you are highly unlikely to ever taste a smoke-tainted wine, because wineries are bending over backwards right now to ensure that no compromised liquid enters a bottle. They are spending thousands of dollars on lab testing, considering cutting back on their production and investigating ways to mitigate any smoke exposure that does manifest itself in a wine. Many wineries would sooner dump out millions of dollars’ worth of product than put a damaged one on the shelf. Finally, even if the smoke damage to California’s 2020 grape harvest is widespread — and we don’t know whether it will be — the chances are quite slim that your particular favorite wine will be ruined. Consider the case of Australia. Its catastrophic 2019-2020 fire season played out during its wine grape harvest, too. The blazes burned more than 46 million acres of land; compare that to 2.3 million in California so far this year. Given the scope of those fires, one might expect a lot of Australia’s wines to be damaged. But according to Wine Australia CEO Andreas Clark, only about 3% of the wine grape tonnage is estimated to have been lost to smoke. This is an ongoing story. I’ll continue to cover it. Winemakers and grape growers have reason to be scared, and they also have reason for hope. But one way or another, no matter what it takes, when you’re drinking a 2020 California Cabernet Sauvignon a couple of years from now, I’m willing to bet it will taste just fine...

— Esther Mobley,

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LEAH SOTTILE: "As I'm packing up my home, preparing to evacuate, I'm thinking about how the eyes of the national media were on Oregon for one square block of protests. But now? When the state is actually on fire? Barely a mention by most media."

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JULIE KEATON OF THE SEABIRD: 'I am one of those horrible, greedy, selfish, dispassionate, price-gouging people some of you have been describing ... I am a hotel owner. My husband and I have owned Seabird Lodge for nearly 37 years. For those of you who've taken the time to get to know either of us, you will know we are none of the things you are accusing us of being. When I read the post last night about price-gouging and how horrible all the hotel owners are here in Fort Bragg, my first thought was how glad I am that we are moving out of this area after having sold our hotel. After thinking more about my reaction, I thought it would be good to post something truthful so that facts can be told instead of so much fiction bantered about as if it were true.

What came to mind for me is that we are coming up to Sept 11th. What a difference between that Sept 11th and this one. Back then, people cared about each other, helped each other, respected each other and spoke positively of our nation and its citizens. People risked their lives to save strangers. A few even chose certain death to save countless lives. Back then we wanted the best for each other, our communities and the businesses that made up the community (regardless of the size and ownership of the business because even non-local ownership provides goods and services and employs locals). We were kicked in the gut by terrible people in 2000, and again in 2020. The biggest difference is that in 2000, it was by people outside of the USA. 

Now when I read the recent posts and comments about how the hoteliers in the community (seemed to be specifically FB for some reason) are all heartless, greedy, horrible people who should be turned into the DA immediately (and here's how to contact him by the way), I realize that my neighbor and fellow community members have no respect, compassion, empathy or concern for me, my family or my business (which contributes to both the county and city coffers and has employed many, many people of this community while housing guests who also contribute financially to the community). These same accusers have no idea what this year or any other year has been like for us, and don't even bother to get the facts before publicly denigrating us. Our rates are the lowest they've been all summer because we are housing so many evacuees. Maybe instead of spending time worrying about how horribly I am running my business, you could take some time to reflect on how you're running your life. The bottom line is that every day we all have decisions to make. We all make decisions based on our own conscience, knowledge and will. Look in the mirror instead of out your there something you can do to help your community today? The answer of course is yes. So do it. Do something positive. Do something helpful. Do something to lighten someone else's load. I don't need you to run my business from the armchair of your life. Leave me alone and trust me to make good choices. If I don't, that's between me and my still don't have a position in the game. Now go do some good in the world! And please be welcoming and kind to the new owners of our hotel so they will be glad to be part of this mostly wonderful community!"

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We lost a tortoise a few days ago, We had this guy come over to make sure where we lived and he tried to talk us out of the tortoise. He never came back. so he has now stolen our tortoise. He drives a white small pick up truck with camper on it and there is a dent in the passengers side. I believe he lives down the road from us somewhere but I cant figure out where at this time. Does anyone know of some one (he has white hair) that JUST got a large tortoise? Please call us (707)813-7003 between a 30 & 35 pound tortoise. He was picked up from Ocean drive. we live on Pacific Way. Thank you, Lisa & Marty 

Lisa Chiapero <>

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Major work continues along the entire stretch of the project—underground utilities are being upgraded on the south end and work on the new sidewalks and bulbouts is occurring on the north end. On the north (between Perkins and Henry Streets), excavation for the bioswales is also taking place. They look like large pits near the intersections (see picture below), and when finished, they'll be filled with landscaping and will help protect our local waterways by filtering storm water runoff while helping to prevent flooding on State Street. 

Our window cleaner will be visiting areas where there isn't active construction. In the next couple of weeks, we plan to have the windows cleaned on the 100 blocks of West Standley and West Perkins, as well as on State Street between Perkins and Stephenson. 


North Side: Perkins to Henry Street 

Ghilotti Construction will continue excavation on the east side of State Street between Perkins and Henry Streets. 

Monday: Saw cutting will begin on the west side of State Street, and street trees will be removed. On the east side of the street, formation of new curbs and gutters will begin, starting at Perkins and working north. 

Tuesday-Friday: Curb and gutter work continues on the east side; sidewalks will be demolished on the west side. Where sidewalks are removed, base rock will be placed next to businesses to serve as temporary pedestrian access. 

During the week, Smith Street and East Standley Street may be intermittently closed for short periods of time. 

Work hours are from 7am to 5pm in this area this week; no night work is planned. 

South Side: Church to Mill Street 

Wahlund Construction is installing new sewer lines this week. 

Monday-Friday: General excavation and sewer lateral work will occur between Mill and Church Streets. 

Next week, State Street will need to be closed temporarily between 6-7:30 am in order to run utilities across the street. Otherwise, through traffic will be maintained on State Street, but there will be some intermittent interruptions to Mill Street while the manhole in the intersection is accessed. On Wednesday and Thursday, no through traffic will be permitted on Mill (east-west). Traffic in each direction will be allowed to make right turns only. 

Driveways on the west side of State Street will remain open with ramps. 

Construction work will begin at 6 am this week, and no night work is planned. 

As always, if you have additional questions or concerns regarding the project, please feel free to contact me directly. Also, more information can be found at

Have a great weekend!

It's a bioswale! Storm water runoff will be filtered through these pits, which will be filled with landscaping. This helps protect our waterways and helps prevent flooding. Win win!

Shannon Riley

Deputy City Manager, City of Ukiah

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CATCH OF THE DAY, September 11, 2020

Adelman, Ayers, Ceja

LESLIE ADELMAN, Ukiah. probation revocation.

KYLE AYERS, Willits. Probation revocation.

ALBERTO CEJA-CEJA, Ukiah. DUI, probation revocation.

Compte, Dégurse, Escobar


JERRY DEGURSE, Willits. Burglary, paraphernalia, suspended license (for DUI), smuggling controlled substance or liquor into jail, failure to appear.

RUTILIO ESCOBAR, Novato/Ukiah. Probation revocation.

Flinton, Gray, Ragan

SEAN FLINTON, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)

MICHELE GRAY, Redwood Valley. Arson of property, arson during emergency, artson of structure or forestland. 

ETHAN RAGAN, Ukiah. Selling/converting-to machine gun, ammo possession by prohibited person, felon-addict with firearm, evasion.

Rodgers, Sadler, Torres

IAN RODGERS, San Luis Obispo/Ukiah. Petty theft, resisting, probation revocation.


RAMIRO TORRES, Willits. Probation revocation.

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Scott L Stephens, et al, University of California, Merced

The destructive wildfires that occurred recently in the western US starkly foreshadow the possible future of forest ecosystems and human communities in the region. With increases in the area burned by severe wildfire in seasonally dry forests expected to result from climate change, judicious, science-based fire and restoration strategies will be essential for improving the resilience of forest ecosystems. 

We argue that fire use treatments (including prescribed fires and managed wildfires) as well as restoration thinning strategies, rather than conflicting with existing environmental objectives, will provide numerous co-benefits, including enhanced biodiversity, increased water availability, greater long-term and more sustainable carbon storage, improved forest resilience and adaptation to climate change, and reduced air pollution. Timber production, however, may have to be better aligned with fire management goals to achieve these co-benefits. Taking immediate actions today to promote positive ecological outcomes in seasonally dry forests should be a primary focus of management, particularly in the western US.

Climate change will continue to produce conditions more conducive to severe wildfire across much of the western US. Increases in severe wildfire will further stress many ecosystems and human communities, but actions can be taken today to promote positive ecological outcomes in seasonally dry forests. Restoration treatments can be applied to reduce future fire severity, which would be desirable in terms of conserving biodiversity, increasing water availability, stabilizing C storage, and improving forest resilience and adaptation to climate change. Achieving these outcomes will require collaborative institutions, robust science-based planning and monitoring processes, and the funding necessary to increase the pace and scale of beneficial fire and restoration thinning. Treatments may conflict not only with efforts to maximize commercial timber production but also with other national forest multiple uses, such as recreation. Whether communities support such activities depends on a wide range of factors, including their history of communication and collaboration with land managers and the nature of their social and economic connections with the forest.

The southern US can provide some insights into how to proceed. In this region, prescribed fire is strongly supported and promoted, and manager application of fire is facilitated through state law. Restoration thinning is also supported in the southern US, and when combined with prescribed burning, provides timber resources for local governments and produces positive results for associated wildlife species, including rare taxa. In contrast, the western US contin-ues to struggle with fire and forest management, in part due to the lack of agreement on public land management goals, the legacies of federal fire management, and responses to fire haz-ard reduction that are sometimes ineffective (eg restoration treatments that are disconnected spatially or that do not focus on reducing surface and ladder fuels).

Proactive fire use and restoration thinning will be key to the long-term conservation of seasonally dry western forests and the benefits they provide to society. Western US state and local governments and federal land management agencies should consider how revised policies and other organizational characteristics, public–private partnerships, collaborative processes, and increased funding and capacity could be achieved. Such a shift may result in near-term reductions in some ecosystem services but will likely accrue longer term benefits in the face of large wildfires and climate change. There is an urgent need to take immediate actions to promote positive ecological outcomes in seasonally dry forests in the western US.

Depiction of two options for a fire-adapted forested watershed. (a) The fire-maintained condition creates forest heterogeneity, provides a range of habitat types, and increases water availability, whereas (b) the fire-excluded condition is at risk of high-severity wildfire because of homogeneous, hazardous forest conditions, which reduce the number of available habitat types and negatively affect water availability; in addition, associated fire emissions degrade air quality

Full paper:

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Dear AVA Editor and readers; 

If you are underwhelmed by the work product of both the Democratic and the Republican leaders, if you are thinking you'll either be holding your nose while voting or not voting at all, give a thought to writing in Jo Jorgensen, the Presidential candidate offered by the Libertarian Party. Even though the Dems will in all likelihood carry California, they'll do so with or without your vote, and you can send a message with yours… that both the biggest parties need to clean up their acts. 

Voters want something better than they're being given. Washington teeters on it's two-legged stool. Bring in a third leg, a third party that isn't radically left or right, but is focused on liberty for Americans. 

Here's the Libertarian Party platform in brief:

* Government should not censor speech, press, media or internet.

* There should be no draft, Military service should be voluntary.

* There should be no laws regarding sex between consenting adults.

* Repeal laws prohibiting adult possession and use of drugs.

* No national ID card.

* End "corporate welfare" - no government handouts to business.

* End government barriers to free trade.

* Privatize Social Security: let people control their own retirement.

* Replace government welfare with private charity.

* Cut taxes and government spending by 50% or more, and let the free market work.

* Bring our troops home, stop trying to police the world.

* End the war on drugs and stop spying on Americans.

You can learn more at

Vote for a woman for President - Jo Jorgensen

Think about it!

Pat Smith


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Still burning! Let’s here it for good government! And all was quiet.

In the past few days our television has been airing the progress on those peaceful riots raging out there in Seattle and Portland, Washington and Oregon. Let's see, just a few weeks ago that brain trust of both the mayor and their governor very adroitly declared that things were under control. What? I admit I get dates and places a bit mixed up but I'm sure the burning cars and dumpsters and fighting and shooting (one man killed) were in downtown Seattle or Portland or could have been somewhere in Syria. I'm not sure.

How in the hell can those governing be so unconscious to the here and now? They most assuredly are full members in the flat Earth Society. These peaceful (mob) protests carry on and on with no end in sight. The only things new are the shootings.

Someone, anyone, please explain to me how in the hell you could identify out-of-control mobs, burnings and shootings and one man killed as being close to peaceful? Beyond comprehension!

Wait! Just a minute! Is it possible that these wayward “yuts” with sticks and stones and bricks and fire bombs and guns were just requesting permission to enter a government building to see their overdue unemployment and welfare checks? You think? Nah! These are young out of control yuts who should be tried, convicted and put away for a long long time. If that is not on the table then shoot them! Yes, shoot them. Grandma says Oh my, not nice! Again I say, more beans in the pie hole, gram. Take another nap. Or walk the dog. I’ll cook some grits! Love you, Gran.

The word “correctness” surely must be reevaluated, it ain't working!

Stronger letter to follow. God bless America, the Donald, Jerry Philbrick

Getting older and very very angry,


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* * *


Dear Editor,

I just heard on the radio that there is a movement within the Republican Party to support Biden. Certain senators and congressmen, mostly former politicians, are opposing Trump. I had to ask myself why, and it came to me pretty quickly. They are doing what crooked politicians always do, they are being bought. How much does it cost to buy a crooked politician? It depends on their current position I suppose, like $300,000-$800,000 into their Cayman Islands account. This is not a lot of money to these people, but probably tempting enough to sell one little vote. A few million dollars could go a long way to move an election, especially if some of these people are members of the Electoral College. What? Nobody is that crooked. Just consider Biden's son’s job in the Ukraine that he didn't need to show up for that paid $1 million plus a year for three years. No investigation happened, no laws were broken, but with $30 billion in aid packages going to the Ukraine -- well, the word kickback comes to mind. 

And thank you for your reporting on our own county politicians who get to name their own salary and listen to an unelected boss who is also overpaid.

Your friend,

Tom Madden


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Please put my song in your paper so folks can learn.

Chorus: Donald Trump doesn't understand what it means to be an American, we are a land of immigrants, that's what makes us so grand. Donald Trump just doesn't understand.

He doesn't realize our democracy takes compromise and not someone who’s told 22,000 lies.

We don't take kindly to abuse of presidential power. Donald Trump you are a liar and a coward.

He took his oath of office to uphold our laws and protect our Constitution from enemies near and far


He breaks our laws and stomps all over our Constitution and when folks call him on it he seeks retribution!

Thousands of days and he’s had nothing to true to say and what he does is detrimental to all of us!

He doesn't know how to do things right, he only knows how to make folks fight!

He's torn all the good things apart and won himself a very small heart!

He wants to separate us from the world because he hasn't the intelligence to make big things work.

To him it's all too complicated. He's torn apart all the good Obama made us.

He’s so poor minded and so poor sighted, he's hollowed out his soul and now he can't find it.

Chorus, over again:

Donald Trump doesn't understand what it means to be an American.

We are a land of immigrants, that's what makes us so grand. 

Donald Trump just doesn't understand!

The end

— Krayola Linde (stage name)


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* * *


by Harvey Reading

I've been lucky. In every place where I have lived, the water was just fine.

My first experience with water had to have been in El Cerrito, where my parents lived when I was born. I have no bad memories of the water there. But then, I have no memories whatsoever of my time there, since the folks moved to a place six or seven miles south of Sonoma a year or so after my birth in 1950.

My memories of the water there include no bad associations with water, though they include remembering the neighbors at the end of the lane, the hog farm that bordered the property to the south, a wood cookstove, and my father butchering yearling steers after hoisting them with a hand pulley that led to the hay loft level of the barn. There were chickens and ducks wandering around the yard, too, often giving up their lives to a well-placed swing of Dad's hatchet. I also remember riding my tricycle into a pothole in the yard that was filled to the brim with an undulating, humming swarm of what I soon learned were bees. I received no sting for my curiosity, but my mother was rewarded with several stings as she responded to my screaming and carried me into the house and straight into the bathtub. I sometimes wonder how many bees made it into the house with me, but, in my then-hysterical state, the memories were, and are, few.

After the move to Calaveras County in '54 or '55, to a Youth Authority installation, near the yellow-pine zone, about 12 miles east of San Andreas, at about the 2,000-foot elevation level, our water came from the headwaters of what I believe was San Antonio Creek. It may have been O'Neil Creek, though. At first the water reached us through an open ditch, about 12 miles in length, with flumes that spanned several canyons and ravines along the way. The water, which passed through a chlorinator, would turn brown for a few days after rain storms, but still tasted just fine. After a few years, a pipeline replaced the ditches, so the brown water times came to an end. The water was fine and plentiful, as it was throughout the county.

My next move was to Berkeley, in the fall of 1968, later El Cerrito, first to a residence hall, then, in '69 to a $125 per month one-bedroom apartment I shared with my cousin, until he was drafted (and then volunteered for the Air Force) near the end of '70 or the beginning of '71, where I juggled college and a job, first as a nighttime pump jockey, later as a service station mechanic while attending UC classes, often clad in a greasy Union Oil Company uniform. In retrospect, I was dressed as well as many of the middle class hippies who became yuppies in the 80s. The EBMUD water was just fine, as might be expected, since it originated in the Sierra Nevada Range.

After my cousin's departure to fight for freedom and the American way (as he puts it now, conveniently leaving out that he joined only to avoid the draft, a fact I delight in pointing out to him, especially when others are present when he gets long-winded and wants to sound the hero!), I realized my job at the service station did not pay enough for college and rent and food (a fact of life to which many workers today can attest, despite the lies peddled by conservathugs and modern robber barons, like Leon Skum). So, I devised a plan.

My plan was 1) to take an honorable withdrawal from Berkeley; 2) to work for a year or so in Sonoma; 3) pick up my lower division biology classes at Santa Rosa Junior College (cheaper by far than Berkeley, thanks to that scumball, Reagan (with full complicity from the gutless legislature) who had declared war on Berkeley); 4) return to Berkeley for a year to get my degree. The on-campus counseling center thought my plan a good one, pointing out that classes at Santa Rosa JC were on a par with lower division classes at UC. So, off I went, and in '74 got my degree and went back to work at the gas station in Sonoma in between seasonal jobs with Fish and Game, California Department of Food and Agriculture, and the union job at the Safeway warehouse in Richmond that paid $7.53 per hour in 1975, from which I resigned to take on a second season with Fish and Game, at $3.15 per hour (sadly, warehousemen are NOT now paid the roughly $37 per hour that the $7.53 would be today–that sort of thing is what conservathuggery is all about!). After 22 years as a permanent employee with Fish and Game, I was finally making, in 2002, the equivalent of what I made at the warehouse back in '75.

So what? We're supposed to writing about water. Well, the water in the place I lived, just south of Sonoma was just fine. The shallow well where I lived never went dry, flood or drought, and required only that I bleed the 50-gallon storage tank every few months.

Next, in '79, I found myself living in southern California, performing as a State Park Ranger at Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area, doing boat patrol on the impoundment, the terminus of the California Aqueduct. I lived in Hesperia, next to Victorville, which still had an Air Force fighter base in those days. The highlights of living there included seeing my first twin-ruddered jet–I guess an F-15, transferring to a permanent job with Fish and Game in Stockton, and good water. Oh, and dealing with LA cops who thought they were exempt from the law...they always signed the citations, though! Enough said.

Stockton water was just fine, as was water in Lewiston (CA) and Red Bluff and Fair Oaks and El Dorado Hills, places I lived over the next 22 years. Incidentally, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (a PUBLIC utility) provided the most reliable electrical service I have experienced in my life. Then I moved to Wyoming.

I was a little leery about water here, having tasted some pretty bad water in places during my three scouting trips here in '96, '97, and '98. But locally, in 18 years of living in central Wyoming, I have yet to drink a glass of water that tasted "off". It tastes like water, period.

I can say the same for Perrier. In the 80s, when bottled water was becoming a fad, I broke down and bought (for a relative fortune, since I was used to paying a water bill once a month or once a year, or not at all) a small bottle of the stuff at the grocery store one day, feeling like a fool for doing so, and hoping no one saw me. When I got home, I carefully twisted off the cap, then put the bottle to my mouth and took a drink. It was such a letdown. It just tasted like my tap water. I never bought another drop of bottled water, and never plan to. And I know for sure that people who tout it as being "better" are a bunch of snooty, goddamned liars!

Now, why would someone expend so many words about water? I'll tell you why.

It's because a few days ago, I plucked the shrink wrap and cardboard bottom of a case of bottled water out of my front-yard pinon pine. It pissed me off that some damned ignorant yuppie must have let his dumpster fill to overflowing, without calling for collection, so that his effing garbage could blow onto my lot. In fact it made me so angry that I set the waste on the public right-of-way next to the paved street to let the wind have its way with HIS trash and to let people know that I don't haul trash for a living.

The wind had its way all right It didn't blow. I figured that next I'd be dealing with the cops about not keeping my lot clean, and that would escalate into me being hauled to jail for resisting arrest for having trash on the right-of-way. In short, a lot of possibilities went through my mind, including the possibility of being taken down by sheriff deputies for trying to beat the shit out of the town clown. I went out a couple of hours ago, and the waste was gone. There had been no wind, so it didn't blow away. I may be engaging in wishful thinking, but I like to think that perhaps a driver passing by may have thought the waste looked familiar, stopped, realized that it was his (or her) waste, picked it up and disposed of it at home. But, I'm known to engage in a lot of wishful thinking. All I know is that no one in town government has knocked on my door...yet.

* * *

* * *


I dislike conspiracy theories in general because most of them are presented without facts, but I can no longer Ignore them. Obviously, our country is falling apart. But why? Our government at many levels no longer represents the people, if it ever did before. Any differences between the Democratic and Republican parties are irrelevant. Trump or Biden is irrelevant.

What's truly lacking is an active opposition to the way things currently are. Most people just try to go about their business. It's not that people are dumb or oblivious. It's that people have been removed from the political process for such a long time that they think what's occurring now is just a phase we're going through. I don't blame them for feeling that way (even though I occasionally complain how dumb they are, but that's just me being angry).

What we need is for aware individuals to organize and educate the public about what's really happening; to speak to public groups and organizations, rationally, without appearing to be tinfoil hat wearers. It wouldn't require many individuals. Ronald Reagan won his election because he asked the public if they were better off now than before. People need to be asked those kinds of questions. Not lectured to. They need to have their worries and feelings validated. If the citizenry were put in a situation where they must answer questions, then they'll begin to act much more responsibly and effectively. It's all about suggesting, not demanding.

* * *

* * *

A READER WRITES: Almost two months ago Mark Saltveit wrote this article in The Tyee:

It give gives background and a better perspective of what's going on in Portland than standard news.

Yesterday I emailed him asking for an update and received this response:

I don't have a formal article update, though I would be happy to write one (I also write about the 49ers, incidentally - see my sig. I'd love them to review that book. AND I'm the subject of a documentary about palindromes, currently running in the San Francisco Documentary Festival. If you like that kind of thing, you'll love the movie, which has Weird Al Yankovic and Will Shortz in it. And me.)

Short story -- the Wall of Moms got mostly run off over turf battles and concerns over white savior type takeover of the protests. The number of protestors has dwindled, and has more of a hard core of very battle-seasoned folks who have more or less fought the police to a draw.

The mayor just today FINALLY banned tear gas use altogether; the PPB was under court order only to use it as a last resort, but they took to just "declaring a riot" any time they wanted to use it.

There have been 3 large counter-attacks by right wing protestors since my original article. The first was on foot; several busloads of "Proud Boys" and "Patriot Prayer" protestors including many well-documented white nationalists and neo-nazis such as Haley Adams. Despite the police suddenly deciding they had no interest in enforcing traffic laws or breaking up violent protests, the ant8-fascist group held off the 200 or so well-armed and armored right-wingers (at least one of whom, Alan Sweeney, drew a big revolver and waved it around with his finger on the trigger.)

I'm sure you heard about the second, 600-1,000 Patriot Prayer and Proud Boy pickups flooded Portland, often spraying demonstrators with bear spray and shooting them with paint ball guns, unprovoked, from the backs of the pickups. AFAIK not a single right wing protestor was cited or arrested for this behavior.

One Patriot Prayer member was shot and killed, while approaching a veteran who had been acting as security for a BLM group. The veteran fled town but was found and shot dead by 40-50 shots from police; eye witnesses say the police just shot him with no provocation or warning. The dead Patriot Prayer guy was spraying bear spray and swinging a metal baton when shot; he had a gun and 72 high-impact bullets in 4 magazines in his waistband and pockets when shot.

There was a second pickup + motorcycle rally (the third of these counterattacks) by Proud Boys, many of whom later spun off and went to Salem (45 miles south) where they blatantly beat BLM protestors. 2 were cited and immediately released by police, who were filmed casually chatting with them. No other enforcement, despite the fact that many drove an hour on the interstate with their license plates covered, in a very high-profile convoy.

As protests have continued, the PPB have been openly targeting journalists and medics and a judge lifted a court order telling them not to. They have also savagely beaten protestors with no provocation on several occasions, and have indiscriminately blown tear gas through residential neighborhoods.

Today, the PPB suspended three police officers who were clearly documented in especially egregious brutality on unprovoking demonstrators.

The subset of protestors, meanwhile, regularly provokes the police by lighting small fires in the street or next to the police union office, things like mattresses, cardboard boxes, etc. They make lurid video but AFAIK no building has burned in over 100 days of protest. TBH seems pretty stupid by those protestors but what do I know.

A good general source of information these days is OPB, Oregon Public Broadcasting.

Hope that helps!

Mark Saltveit

Editor of "LEGENDARY: The 2019 San Francisco 49ers" out now from Palindromist Press.

* * *


A notice of proposed changes in regulations concerning abalone has been posted to the Commission's website. The notice and associated documents can be accessed at Please refer to the notice for additional information. 


Jenn Greaves

California Fish and Game Commission"

The webinar/teleconference hearing is scheduled to be held on Wednesday, October 14, 2020, at 8:30 a.m., or as soon thereafter as the matter may be heard. Instructions for participation in the webinar/teleconference hearing will be posted at in advance of the meeting or may be obtained by calling 916-653-4899.


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* * *


A conversation between Jeff Zucker and former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen removes all doubt: our hated president is a beloved commodity to network executives

by Matt Taibbi

America this week is obsessing about conversations between Donald Trump and Washington Post legend Bob Woodward. It’s a scoop, but a crazier story is being buried. 

Beginning on September 1, tapes were released of conversations between former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen and top CNN figures, including Chris Cuomo and president Jeff Zucker. The conversations between Zucker and Cohen especially go a long way toward explaining how Donald Trump became president. We see clearly how Zucker, famed now as a supposed stalwart force of anti-Trumpism, actually encouraged him during the 2016 campaign, to the point where he offered Trump help on how to succeed in a CNN-sponsored debate. 

The tapes are devastating enough to the media’s pretensions of non-responsibility for the Trump phenomenon that they’ve gone mostly uncovered, outside of Fox. The few outlets that have tackled the tapes focus on the fact that they were released by Tucker Carlson, for example the Washington Post’s “What’s up with Tucker Carlson’s leaked tapes of Michael Cohen’s secret CNN conversations?”

Conventional wisdom about the media role in electing Trump in 2016 focuses most on the quantity of free coverage he received. “Trump rode $5 billion to the White House,” was a typical treatment by The Street in November, 2016, noting that Trump’s best month of “earned media,” May, 2016, was driven by his “infamous Cinco de Mayo message.” That was the one in which he said “I love Hispanics!” over a Trump Tower taco bowl.

The implication with these stories was that Trump was so good at driving social media interest with “controversial” gambits like these, he pushed news outlets to match audience demand. While this is true to an extent, it doesn’t really get at what happened. 

Other areas of media behavior in 2016 that have been investigated include the amount of negative versus positive coverage devoted to Hillary Clinton, as well as the greed of network executives like Les Moonves of CBS, who infamously said of the Trump campaign, “It may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS.” 

Among reporters, the story of the media’s evolving attitude toward Trump went like this: they thought he was amusing initially, gave him too much coverage in a lust for ratings, then got religion and began “calling him out” once he sewed up the Republican nomination. It is said we adopted a new, more responsible approach to Trump as time went on, featuring “copious coverage and aggressive coverage” in an effort to be “true to history’s judgment,” i.e. to do everything to stop a unique threat from becoming president. 

Anyone who wants to understand what the change in editorial attitude toward Trump in 2016 was really about need only listen to these tapes. 

The public legend about Zucker, furthered by Donald Trump himself and buttressed by reports in conservative media like Project Veritas, is that he despises Trump. We’ve heard reports in recent years of Zucker ordering staff to be “fully committed” to Trump’s impeachment, for instance.

What these new tapes make plain is that this is likely neither a personal nor political issue with Zucker, who had a relationship with Trump dating back years. Zucker, after all, had made Trump a media star back when he was running NBC. He’d green-lit The Apprentice, which a pair of Washington Post writers would later describe as a “virtually nonstop advertisement for the Trump empire and lifestyle.” 

Zucker also had a relationship with Cohen, who served on the board of a Manhattan nonprofit school called Columbia Prep with Zucker’s wife, Caryn. It’s not clear how the tapes got out, but we do know one conversation between Zucker and Cohen took place just hours before the last Republican primary debate, on March 10, 2016. 

In that recording, Zucker reassured Cohen that “the boss,” i.e. Trump, was going to do great at the debate, because he always did:

I think the other guys are going to gang up on him tremendously, and I think he’s going to hold his own, as he does every time. He’s never lost a debate. And do you know what? He’s good at this… he’s going to do great. 

The 2016 campaign was marked by scores of stories about how terrible a debater and campaigner Trump was. Headline after headline speculated that a trembling Trump might skip debates with Hillary Clinton, despite trailing in polls.

“Will Donald Trump skip the debate with Hillary Clinton?” wondered New York that summer. “Is Donald Trump planning on skipping the presidential debates?” asked the Atlantic. Why might someone so far behind skip debates? Because “he’s not very good at them,” the Washington Post explained, adding Trump won the Republican primary “in spite of his lackluster debate performances.”

Reviews aside, the camera didn’t lie: Trump onstage so bullied GOP rivals that he commanded the most debate airtime by far, in one early case more than doubling the amount of time taken by Mike Huckabee and Scott Walker. No matter the morality of what Trump said — and there were repulsive moments, like the Megyn Kelly episode — voters came away with the impression that he’d been the center of gravity in each debate. 

It would have been a journalistic service to explain how this worked. Instead, a legend was created that Trump was inept and his wins were losses. The biggest head-scratcher was the New York Times describing the debate that was clearly fatal to Jeb Bush — when he said his mother was the “strongest woman I know,” and Trump retorted, “She should be running” — as a “slashing attack” by Bush, whose “most forceful performance” left Trump “roundly pummeled.” 

Zucker’s private assessment of Trump’s debating was noteworthy for that reason. Cohen went on to joke about what would likely happen in the debate, wondering how many times “Cruz” would call Trump a con man. Zucker corrected him, noting it would be Marco Rubio making such attacks, and offered advice:

You know what you should do? Whoever's around him today should just be calling him a conman all day so he's used to it, so that when he hears it from [Marco] Rubio, it doesn't matter… “Hey conman, hey conman, hey conman, hey conman, hey conman.” So he thinks that's his name, you know?   

Remember, this was a CNN-hosted debate, with Jake Tapper emceeing the festivities: 

Typically, any suggestion that a candidate has been prepped in advance about debate questions, or given other aid, is considered a scandal. It was a big deal when two Fox sources told the New Yorker that Trump might have been given questions in advance of the infamous Megyn Kelly debate. Similarly, it was a mini-scandal when Donna Brazile was forced by Wikileaks disclosures to admit she shared topics with Hillary Clinton ahead of a CNN town hall. 

In this case, we have the president of the network set to host a debate giving a candidate advice on how to handle a Republican challenger, and the response has mostly been to wonder if Carlson released this story as part of a “long-running… war with the network that once employed him.”

It got worse. Zucker promised Cohen, “I’m going to give him a call right now and I’m going to wish him luck in the debate tonight.” 

Why Zucker said he would call, and not email, was the real punchline. 

“I’m very conscious of not putting too much on email, as you’re a lawyer, as you understand,” Zucker said, adding: 

And, you know, as fond as I am of the boss, he also has a tendency, like, you know, if I call him or I email him, he then is capable of going out at his next rally and saying that we just talked and I can't have that, if you know what I'm saying.

It’s not that I don’t want to talk to him every day. I’ve just got to be careful.

Zucker added:

I have all these proposals for him, like… I want to do a weekly show with him and all this stuff… is he back in New York tomorrow, do you know? 

What these recordings reveal is that CNN’s cartoonish role as a determined and vituperative “fake news media” foil to Trump — while perhaps real for some of the reporters and broadcasters involved — is at least to some degree kabuki theater for executives. Even as president, Trump to network leaders is first and foremost a commodity, and an extraordinarily valuable one at that. Were he not president, Zucker might very well be offering him that weekly show. 

As the creator of The Apprentice, Zucker surely understands both the nature of Trump’s ratings appeal, and the Reality TV value of having CNN reporters play gesticulating heckler to Trump’s Bill Hicks act: 

In late 2015 and early 2016 especially, journalists and network executives began to discuss how to deal with the “threat” of Trump. Columns like Nicholas Kristof’s “My Shared Shame: The Media Helped Make Trump” led to awesome amounts of public navel-gazing, at the end of which the coverage strategy really did shift. 

The Columbia Journalism Review did a study after the election confirming what most of us could feel on the ground: that coverage of Trump increased as the campaign went on, and became more negative as time went on, with particular attention paid to his personal failings. As the CJR explained:

While early in the race Trump won some favorable descriptions as a straight-shooter, depictions of him as a truth-bender became increasingly frequent as Election Day neared, and negative descriptions of his personal character outnumbered positive ones by about six to one overall.

In Hate Inc. I described the formula as shifting from One Million Hours of Trump! to One Million Hours of Trump (is bad)! It was laughable, the way some outlets went from giving Trump regular foot massages, to adopting the furious public posture of democracy’s last defender against the Evil One. Who could forget Mika Brzezinski gushing off air to Trump about what a “real wow moment” his South Carolina rally had been, then just months later denouncing the “Trump train” that would “drive America into the ground”? 

When Zucker tells Cohen he’d love to talk to Trump “every day” but can’t, because “I just can’t have that,” he’s explaining exactly what the coverage “change” was about. Going more negative while increasing the raw amount of attention — “copious coverage and aggressive coverage” — allowed networks to retain or even increase the monster ratings Trump offered, without earning the social opprobrium that came with giving him softball coverage. 

Zucker loved Trump for the same reason baseball owners once loved the juiced-up homers hit by Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire: he put butts in seats. He just can’t afford to be seen loving Trump. 

In another part of the tape, Zucker tried to explain to Cohen the facts of life. One can almost see him wrapping a fatherly arm around Cohen’s shoulder:

Here’s the thing… you cannot be elected president of the United States without CNN. Fox and MSNBC are irrelevant — irrelevant — in electing a general election candidate. 

You guys have had great instincts, great guts and great understanding of everything... But you're missing the boat on how it works going forward.

Zucker here was trying to play kingmaker, and doing it for real, not as an act of sabotage. 

When it came out in 2016 via the infamous “Pied Piper” memo that Clinton campaign advisers schemed to elevate the “more extreme candidates,” there was outrage that Democrats early on had helped Trump. But the Democrats at least wanted to “cudgel” the Republican field further to the right because they thought it would increase their chances of winning. 

Zucker, by contrast, was offering what he thought at the time was sincere advice. Remember this conversation took place on March, 2016. He was telling Cohen, “You’ve done well enough to win the nomination. In order to win the whole election, you need to play things differently.”

Zucker thought Trump needed to win over the CNN audience — as opposed to the “irrelevant” audiences of MSNBC to the left and Fox to the right — in order to win in November. This was pure transactional politics: Zucker was essentially offering a road to the promised land, i.e. positive coverage, if only Trump would sit up, beg, and accept Zucker’s counsel.

Zucker was probably pulling this same media version of a J. Edgar Hoover routine with the Clinton campaign and with every other politician he came into contact with, but that doesn’t change what makes this tape so shaky, ethically speaking. 

Zucker was offering Trump better results with his network during general election season, and giving out a free sample in the form of advice for that night’s debate. Why? Because at that level of the game, what isn’t about money is about power. If Trump was headed for the presidency, Zucker wanted Trump to owe him when he got there.

The irony is Trump won in spite of CNN, and it was CNN that ended up changing its tune, not Trump. There may be some genuine political belief behind CNN’s drift in the direction of “irrelevant” MSNBC, but don’t be fooled into thinking that’s the whole story. 

CNN these days plays face to Trump’s heel, and vice versa, because that’s where the money is, in this era of WWE politics and hate-for-profit media. Does CNN feel guilty about the record ratings and billions in revenue the Trump era’s earned them? Just listen to the tape. As a business, they’re more than fond of “the boss.” They just can’t have us knowing it.

* * *

* * *


This speech was delivered at 9:10 am on September 11, 1973, in the midst of an ultimately successful US-sponsored coup d'etat against the democratically-elected government. Barricaded inside La Moneda, the presidential palace, President Allende gave his life defending Chilean democracy. Translation by Yoshie Furuhashi.

My friends,

Surely this will be the last opportunity for me to address you. The Air Force has bombed the towers of Radio Portales and Radio Corporación.

My words do not have bitterness but disappointment. May they be a moral punishment for those who have betrayed their oath: soldiers of Chile, titular commanders in chief, Admiral Merino, who has designated himself Commander of the Navy, and Mr. Mendoza, the despicable general who only yesterday pledged his fidelity and loyalty to the Government, and who also has appointed himself Chief of the Carabineros [national police].

Given these facts, the only thing left for me is to say to workers: I am not going to resign!

Placed in a historic transition, I will pay for loyalty to the people with my life. And I say to them that I am certain that the seed which we have planted in the good conscience of thousands and thousands of Chileans will not be shriveled forever.

They have strength and will be able to dominate us, but social processes can be arrested neither by crime nor force. History is ours, and people make history.

Workers of my country: I want to thank you for the loyalty that you always had, the confidence that you deposited in a man who was only an interpreter of great yearnings for justice, who gave his word that he would respect the Constitution and the law and did just that. At this definitive moment, the last moment when I can address you, I wish you to take advantage of the lesson: foreign capital, imperialism, together with the reaction, created the climate in which the Armed Forces broke their tradition, the tradition taught by General Schneider and reaffirmed by Commander Araya, victims of the same social sector which will today be in their homes hoping, with foreign assistance, to retake power to continue defending their profits and their privileges.

I address, above all, the modest woman of our land, the campesina who believed in us, the worker who labored more, the mother who knew our concern for children. I address professionals of Chile, patriotic professionals, those who days ago continued working against the sedition sponsored by professional associations, class-based associations that also defended the advantages which a capitalist society grants to a few.

I address the youth, those who sang and gave us their joy and their spirit of struggle. I address the man of Chile, the worker, the farmer, the intellectual, those who will be persecuted, because in our country fascism has been already present for many hours -- in terrorist attacks, blowing up the bridges, cutting the railroad tracks, destroying the oil and gas pipelines, in the face of the silence of those who had the obligation to protect them. They were committed. History will judge them.

Surely Radio Magallanes will be silenced, and the calm metal instrument of my voice will no longer reach you. It does not matter. You will continue hearing it. I will always be next to you. At least my memory will be that of a man of dignity who was loyal to [inaudible] the workers.

The people must defend themselves, but they must not sacrifice themselves. The people must not let themselves be destroyed or riddled with bullets, but they cannot be humiliated either.

Workers of my country, I have faith in Chile and its destiny. Other men will overcome this dark and bitter moment when treason seeks to prevail. Go forward knowing that, sooner rather than later, the great avenues will open again where free men will walk to build a better society.

Long live Chile! Long live the people! Long live the workers!

These are my last words, and I am certain that my sacrifice will not be in vain, I am certain that, at the very least, it will be a moral lesson that will punish felony, cowardice, and treason."

* * *



  1. George Hollister September 12, 2020

    “Really, what’s so scary about that to most Trumpians, most of whom have no money?”

    Trump support has little to do about money. Talk to a Trump supporter and see how often money comes up in the conversation. Not often, except in the context of a job; or government senselessly wasting money; or senseless regulations taking away a job and money.

    There is a disconnection here between Trump supporters and those who think the key to life lies in money, particularly other people’s money.

  2. Lazarus September 12, 2020


    Hey H.

    Do you think that find print is on them dog collars for Biden?

    Be Swell,

  3. Elaine September 12, 2020

    Purple Air, as I discovered, is actually flawed in more than one way. First and foremost their sensors only measure PM2.5 concentrations, whereas EPA’s Air Now, measures ozone, PM2.5 and PM10 concentrations. Purple Air does have more sensors out there but they also have two different outdoor air models, which individuals have to buy at $249 or $279. And why, two models? In what way is the cheaper one perhaps less effective? This is not clear from their website. The other unknown here is how well all of these individuals have installed their sensors. And, seems to me, that in charging people for these sensors, this is yet another attempt to undermine a good public service that we can all use for free, replacing it with a substandard, incomplete “service” that seems to be set up to make someone quite a bit of money.

  4. Harvey Reading September 12, 2020


    Ghastly. Typical architecture that was popular during the gilded age of the late 19th Century.



  5. James Marmon September 12, 2020

    Can we become a socialist country without “Cancel Culture” and “Political Correctness”? Two big sticking points.

    ‘Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it. ‘

    -George Orwell, 1984


    • George Hollister September 12, 2020

      The biggest challenge for central government control of the economy, everywhere it has been implemented, are people who think for themselves, and act on their own. Forcing everyone to think and act alike becomes the Final Solution for all true socialist states, everywhere.

      • Harvey Reading September 12, 2020

        Was that plagiarized from Heritage or was it Enterprise? Perhaps the Hoover Institution?

  6. Joe September 12, 2020

    Agenda 21 – what is it and how does it effect us?

    • Harvey Reading September 12, 2020

      You’re getting even more ridiculous than Capt. Space Case and the Patriot Psychologist/Welfare Worker.

      • Joe September 12, 2020

        Thanks for your diagnosis Harv, I’ll file it right away.

        • Harvey Reading September 12, 2020

          You’re entirely welcome, Joseph.

  7. James Marmon September 12, 2020

    “Political correctness is going to kill American liberalism if it is not fought to the death by people like me for the dangers it represents to free speech, to the exchange of ideas, to openheartedness, or to the spirit of art itself. Political correctness has a stranglehold on academia, on feminism, and on the media. It is a form of both madness and maggotry.”

    ― Pat Conroy, My Reading Life

  8. James Marmon September 12, 2020

    The AVA can’t deny anymore that “Political Correctness” and “Cancel Culture” comes with the brand of socialism being pushed here in America. Those two things are something for us to fear.


    • Bruce McEwen September 12, 2020

      Don’t be afraid, James. The libs — except for the odd disillusioned veteran here and there — are untrained in firearms, tactics and troop deployments. Your side will win, hands down, there’s nothing for you guys to fear. After the shootings done, it’ll be Planet of the Apes for real, dude.

      • Bruce McEwen September 12, 2020

        The Democrats around here don’t know enfilade from marmalade, for instance.

      • Harvey Reading September 12, 2020

        Maybe, but that assumes they possess as much as half a brain among them. They had to depend on officers for direction. Riding a two-wheeled bulldozer and beating people does not indicate any degree of braininess to me. And, your statement about readiness and tactical knowledge will be proven or disproven in the next few months. My observation is that there are actually more qualified combatants among liberals. Plus, they are far more clever.

        • Harvey Reading September 12, 2020

          And, both sides are, and have been for decades, forced into the military, by the economic draft…

  9. Harvey Reading September 12, 2020

    Maybe, but that assumes they possess as much as half a brain among them. They had to depend on officers for direction. Riding a two-wheeled bulldozer does not indicate any degree of braininess to me. And, your statement about readiness and tactical knowledge will be proven or disproven in the next few months. My observation is that there are actually more qualified combatants among liberals. Plus, they are far more clever.

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