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MCT: Friday, October 9, 2020

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AFTER A COOL AND CLOUDY START for many locales, expect some partial sunshine this afternoon. A cold front will bring light rainfall to much of northwest California Saturday, with locally up to an inch in Del Norte County. Next week looks mainly dry, with warmer temperatures and offshore winds developing mid to late week. (NWS)

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FIVE MORE CASES in Mendocino County on Thursday, total now up to 1030.

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Next week we will do evening testing from Wednesday 4-5:30 to accommodate people working. No Thursday testing next week.

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Point Arena Testing Results

ALL tests conducted last Saturday October 3 at City Hall have come back NEGATIVE!!

Thank you for your continued efforts to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our community! Now is not the time to let up. Using facial coverings, maintaining a 6-foot social distance, and staying home if you feel sick are all strategies that are working.

Public Health will once again be conducting surveillance testing this SUNDAY October 11 from 9:30am to Noon at the Veteran's Building City Hall, 451 School St. in Point Arena. It is open to the public.

Paul Andersen

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A convicted felon with pending firearm charges here in Mendocino County was taken into custody Wednesday morning at the Ukiah courthouse on a federal arrest warrant.

Defendant Negie Tony Fallis, age 40, generally of Covelo, was arrested by Mendocino County Sheriff deputies after the defendant’s morning court appearance and whisked away to the local jail. 


He was transported by federal agents to the Bay Area for his arrangement on federal charges in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.

When later asked the status of local charges and court proceedings in light of the defendant’s morning arrest, Mendocino County District Attorney David Eyster said it is likely that most, if not all of the local charges will be dismissed next week to support the federal prosecution if it is decided by the federal judge that defendant Fallis is to remain in federal custody. 

The District Attorney also thanked U.S. Attorney David L. Anderson and the federal law enforcement agencies for their interest and effort in investigating, arresting, and prosecuting local outlaws who continue to violate State and Federal firearm laws.

(District Attorney Presser)

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FAMILY MEMBERS OF KHADIJAH BRITTON ATTEND A PROTEST For Missing And Murdered Indigenous People On The Same Day The Suspect In Her Disappearance Faces Federal Charges

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Post Date: 10/08/2020 4:00 PM

On September 23, 2020, Mendocino County Public Health (MCPH) was alerted by Redwood Coast Medical Services (RCMS) to a number of positive COVID-19 cases in the South Coast region of Mendocino County. Since then, we have been addressing a COVID-19 outbreak on the South Coast, consisting of 9 positive Mendocino County residents at the time of this Press Release. All cases have been contacted for initial investigation and participated in contact tracing to identify close contacts. The majority of the cases have been released from isolation as of this date.

MCPH, in collaboration with the Manchester Band of Pomo Indians of the Manchester Rancheria, RCMS, California Rural Indian Health Board, Inc. and AB Med Healthcare Solutions will be offering free COVID-19 testing this upcoming weekend, with an anonymous option available. Testing sites include the following:

Saturday, October 10, 2020

  • 9:30 AM – 2:00 PM no appointment necessary
  • Manchester Point Arena Clinic at 10A Mamie Laiwa Road, Point Arena
  • Testing conducted by AB Med

Sunday, October 11, 2020 

  • 9:30 AM - 12:00 PM no appointment necessary
  • Point Arena Veterans Hall at 451 School Street, Point Arena
  • Testing conducted by MCPH

Testing is open to all, and we encourage you to get tested if you or someone close to you…

  1. Has come into close contact with anyone outside of your immediate household - This includes inside or outside gatherings, large or small, and confined spaces such as vehicles or workspaces.
  2. Works with the public, especially in settings where masks are not always used by either customers or employees, and where coworkers take breaks and eat together.

If you or anyone around you has had flu-like symptoms such as cough, sore throat, diarrhea, fever or etc., please isolate yourself, and call your healthcare provider for a test and evaluation.

You do not have to be quarantined while you await your results, and those who do take advantage of this testing opportunity will be contacted directly by MCPH if they have a positive result. Those who do not receive a call from Public Health 4 days after the test can safely assume they are negative, but can also call the Mendocino County Call Center at (707) 472-2759 if they need proof of their negative result.

Over 400 individuals have been tested since the initial outbreak of 09/23/20. No new positive tests have been identified for Mendocino County residents. We will continue to work collaboratively to conduct surveillance testing in effort to control the spread.

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Tracks to Ships

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I’ve been informed that there has been an application for a permit for a pot dispensary to be located at the southeast corner of Franklin and Alder streets here in Fort Bragg. That would be kiddie corner from the post office to you that are not familiar with the area. I would not be writing this letter if I was not concerned about this project. The dispensary’s warehouse doors are approximately 40 feet from my family’s property, which is on McPherson Street. I have never been a fan of the legalization of pot for recreational use, but I have no problem with it being used for medicinal purposes if prescribed by a physician. There are concerns with property values and safety issues. Are the police going to have to change their nightly patrols on account of a warehouse being stored full of pot? If this place is robbed are the people going to hide in my backyard from the cops? How are they going to control the smell that is going to invade our neighborhood? I thought the city had already zoned other places for this type of business. All I know is that I definitely do not want this in my neighborhood. How about you?

Jay Koski

Fort Bragg

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Mendo Rocks

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LOOKS LIKE THE COUNTY is going to the mattresses double-time to defend itself against the wrongful termination suit brought by former Public Health Director Barbara Howe. According to a Consent Calendar Item on last Tuesday’s Board agenda the County approved giving the $50k more to their expensive outside counsel Liebert Cassidy Whitmore (LCW), “for a New Agreement Total of $100,000 for Litigation Services for Howe v. County of Mendocino.”


  1. Barbara Howe Speaks
  2. Barbara Howe’s Day In Court

(Mark Scaramella)

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Mendocino Depot

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Dear Editor, 

There was an excellent op-ed article in the PD today regarding logging and the propensity for mega-fires written by Chad Hanson. “Weather and climate influence fire behavior much more than other factors. Alarmingly, in forests where trees had been removed by logging, burned hotter and faster. That’s because removing trees reduces shade; creates hotter, dryer and windier conditions; and causes highly combustible grasses to spread.”

Now we have legislation put forth by Senator Diane Feinstein (S 4431 Wildfire +Public Safety Act of 2020) which puts the Timber Interests in the driver’s seat once again. For anyone who has ever observed a forest it is abundantly clear that more overstory or canopy equals more moisture and less vegetation in the understory in a coniferous forestland. More industrial logging only exacerbates the problem. They remove the high quality mature timber, leave huge piles of slash, and expose the forest floor to compaction and degradation. Thus the recipe for the mega-fire is well established.

Here in Mendocino County the liquidation logging proceeds apace with the blessings of CalFire. There is no meaningful regulation in these THP’s. No follow up inspections to insure compliance with Forest Practice Rules. I have tried to contact Cal-Fire directly with concerns over timber harvest practices to no avail. Apparently public input and concern for the mismanagement and degradation of the west coast temperate forests is of no concern to this agency. It’s all bought and paid for! 

The voters of Mendocino county passed Measure V to address the issue of — hack and squirt — herbicide poisoning of Tan oak trees and yet the problem continues unabated today as the forests are full of dead standing Tan oaks . 

Here, where I live on the front range, two miles from the Pacific Ocean, the forests on my parcel are dense and moist, whereas adjoining parcels which have been logged in recent years are parched and the soils are compacted as a direct result of recent timber operations. 

When the fire comes, and it will come, I believe the climax forest will endure whereas the harvested forest will burn. It appears we need a regulatory agency apart from the timber interests which have so dominated the methodology of forest management for the past century. 

I propose we as Californians empower the Climate Crisis Agency to direct and supervise all subservient government agencies in their budgets and priorities. Let Cal-Fire continue to fight wildfires, which they do remarkably well, but make forest management policy under a more current understanding of climate change.


Tim McClure 

Fort Bragg

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Mendo Harbor

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SIGNS OF THE TIMES, Mendo branch: 


A local family of three has been searching for housing for months and is in danger of being homeless in two weeks. Financially secure, hard-working, awesome tenants that respect their home and neighbors. Looking for anything from a one-bedroom to 3 bedroom - any leads are appreciated! Many opportunities have fallen through, bidding wars on rentals, many people moving into the area plus COVID has made housing nearly impossible. They are in this position through no fault of their own, awesome references, AWESOME people.

Kristin Jones

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John Lund’s Fishing Boat

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A READER WRITES: "Comptche just had 8 days last week with no internet. Our dsl internet provider, Mendocino Community Network, couldn’t get AT&T to even admit what the problem was. Locals were guessing the part needed was so old they had to build a new piece from scratch. The Comptche School did have a signal and their parking lot had cars parked with seniors on laptops, high school kids sitting on outside stairs with their equipment, smaller kids sat at picnic tables working with adult supervision. School age kids celebrated because there could be no “Zoom School” for a week but the ever efficient teacher Kathy Jackson called every kid at noon Wednesday Oct 6 to tell them the signal was back up and school was resuming Right Now!"

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Point Arena Hot Springs

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The Zeni Ranch announces: 

The 37th annual Chestnut U-Pick will be held on Saturday, October 31st (yes it is Halloween!) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Zeni Ranch at 30995 Fish Rock Road outside of Yorkville. All Covid masking, hygiene, and social distancing rules will be in effect. If you have a temperature or do not feel well, please do not come. You can bring your own picnic lunch and a pumpkin to carve. Adult and children’s distanced costume contest. Well-behaved dogs on a leash are OK, but you are responsible for your dog.

Chestnuts are $3.50 a pound u-pick and $4.50 a pound picked. Fresh, raw honey, T-shirts, and our popular nut sacks will also be available. For more information call or text Jane Zeni at 707.684.6892. 

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Lighthouse Construction

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ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY: "Christie Olson Day and Andy Wellspring both donated to the gofundme campaign of Sierra Wooten to pay for her to hire an assistant during the time she was so busy trying to ruin the life and future employment of the Fort Bragg City Manager because her ego was hurt by a Fort Bragg City Councilmember. Ms. Wooten has never publicly apologized for her inexcusably despicable actions. It’s disappointing that Councilmember Morsell-Haye added two new advisory commission members who are aligned with a person who would retaliate against a decision not to interview her in such a hateful way."

Ed note: And now we have one member of the FB City Council frantically stuffing the already over-large name change committee with cancel culture bots. This whole show, kicked off by a deranged young woman, is one for the Only In Mendo books.

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by Esther Mobley

During my reporting over the last week and a half about the Glass Fire — the wildfire currently tearing through Napa and Sonoma counties — one name kept popping up in my conversations with Napa vintners.

“The true hero in all of this has been Jon Berlin.” — Pam Bergman, Bergman Family Vineyards.

“Jon Berlin is a one-man army.” — Tegan Passalacqua, Turley Wine Cellars.

“You really need to talk to Jon Berlin. He’s been my No. 1 scout.” — Chris Hall, Stony Hill Vineyards and Long Meadow Ranch.

They told me that Berlin — who with his wife Lily Berlin runs El Molino Winery at the base of Spring Mountain — had been riding through the hillsides on a stunt motorcycle while the Glass Fire spread. He kept CalFire and locals informed of the locations of the fire, cut fire lines with chainsaws and extinguished spot fires with a little backpack sprayer, a piece of equipment usually used to apply treatments to vineyards.

Without Berlin, they said, the destruction on Napa’s west side would have been much worse.

Message received! So I called Jon Berlin.

What I learned, first of all, is that Berlin was uniquely positioned to be useful in a wildfire. He served as a naval fireman in the South African military — and dealt with his share of brush fires back in South Africa.

He also owns a Vertigo Trials Motorcycle, which he describes as “a weird motorcycle that’s not about going fast, but about going slow.” A trials bike is designed to mount obstacles, and the rider’s goal is to maintain balance. Berlin has even participated in trials competitions in Scotland. It was an ideal tool for a situation where roads were often inaccessible for vehicles due to downed trees.

Around 3:30 a.m. on September 27, Berlin was asleep at home, on the El Molino property, when he got a call from a friend that fire had broken out on the opposite side of the valley. “I look out the window and all I could see was this ball of orange,” he said. He headed out for the Silverado Trail, saw an electrical line ablaze and knew the situation was going to be serious. “It was like a pyrotechnic show,” he said. “And the the wind was howling.”

El Molino has been in Lily Berlin’s family since 1936, though the winery itself dates to 1871. Lily’s father, who made the El Molino wines until his death in 2005, had been a Burgundy wine fanatic, and the winery still produces only two wines, in an Old World-inspired style — the Burgundian varietals Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

The history is so precious that “there was no way I was going to leave,” Jon Berlin said. “I knew that CalFire couldn’t be everywhere at the same time, and that I could help in some way.”

So he took off on his trials bike and began scouting the Spring Mountain hillsides, in many cases reaching areas that cars and firetrucks could not, due to downed trees. He was in regular contact with CalFire battalion chief Darren Johnson, who at one point entrusted his phone to Berlin so that he could capture video and send communications quickly. He had help from firefighters and from vineyard manager David Abreu and his crew, who brought a D9 bulldozer to Spring Mountain to cut fire breaks. But for much of last week, Berlin was riding solo.

“There were times I was riding and on both sides of me, there were fires,” Berlin said. He kept his backpack sprayer filled with water or fire retardant. But there’s only so much water that “a rinky-dink backpack sprayer,” as he puts it, can carry, and often his role was to relay the need for water to outsiders. At Stony Hill, for example, they ran out of water to combat the encroaching flames, and Berlin called Abreu, who managed to haul up a 4,000-gallon water truck.

But maybe the most important part Berlin played was as messenger of good news to neighbors who had evacuated and were anxiously awaiting information about their homes and vineyards. “It’s the sense of unknowing that’s the real mental strain,” he said. “Is my house still there? For this little canyon, just to be able to tell someone that the fire came around, but moved away, and your house is still there — that’s such a relief.”

That sort of good news had special meaning coming from Berlin. After all, he was in the same boat. Last weekend, El Molino became one of the Glass Fire’s last stands on Spring Mountain. The blaze came within 40 feet of the winery. This time, it was an air strike, dropping fire retardant from helicopters overhead, that saved the building.

“We somehow emerged unscathed,” Berlin said. “40 feet is close enough.”

Here’s what we know about the Glass Fire, more than one week after the destruction began.

The list of winery or vineyard properties with confirmed damage has now climbed to 25.

As part of a special SFgate Food + Wine section we ran last weekend that focused on the theme of “choices,” I wrote about the Napa winery employees who moonlight as volunteer firefighters — and the employers who release them from their day jobs during their busiest time of year.

Elsewhere, I took a deeper look at Napa’s Spring Mountain, which has perhaps been the wine region hardest hit by the Glass Fire. Some Spring Mountain residents believe that these hillsides have not burned since the 1870s, which means it may have been long overdue for a catastrophic blaze.

After St. Helena’s Meadowood resort burned, my colleagues Janelle Bitker and Justin Phillips spoke to alumni of the acclaimed Restaurant at Meadowood. In addition to some glowing remembrances, they also heard from some former employees with accounts of alleged abuse and mistreatment.

Fatigued by the annual cycle of fires, many Wine Country residents are moving to other parts of California or even other states. The Chronicle’s Mallory Moench and J.K. Dineen discuss the phenomenon. And in our Culture Desk section, writer Anna Nordberg eloquently articulates this so-called “California dilemma,” which she describes as a tension that’s “built into what it means to live here, perched precariously on fault lines, figuring out the line between risk-taking and folly.”

Finally: I was a guest on this week’s episode of Extra Spicy, Soleil Ho and Justin Phillips’ awesome food podcast, chatting about the Glass Fire and the larger outlook for California wine.

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COVID TEST. Got my drive-thru nasal swab this morning (Thursday) at the high school parking lot where five efficient women from the AV Health Center briskly processed a line of vehicular swabees (and one dude on a motorcycle). 

I was surprised at the turnout. There were people behind me and five cars and motorcycle dude in front of me, and twenty minutes later when I drove past there were still a half-dozen vehicles in line for their occupants to get swabbed. I'd guess at least fifty people were tested this morning during the hour-long period allotted, and they've been testing every weekday morning for a while now, meaning, I'd suppose, a goodly swathe of Valley people have been plague-checked. The results take three or four days, and no news is good news. Only the positives are notified.

HAVING BEEN socially distanced since January of '84 when I got into the newspaper business, I'd be surprised if I tested positive. But if I did have to quarantine, I'd hardly notice the diff.

ON THE SUBJECT of Covid, I was surprised that Kamala Harris, during last night's debate, said if Trump recommended a vaccine she wouldn't take it. I know Trump Derangement Syndrome has infected much of liberal America, but Kamala's statement is not helpful, especially in today's context of lunatic anti-vaxxers and the daily deluge of misinformed medical information bombarding us from cyber-space.

BOTH HARRIS AND PENCE stuck pretty much to their party lines, with the robotic Pence doing as well as anybody could expect from a Southern Kiwana's Club guy shoved out there to defend the indefensible, while Harris, eagerly, recited Biden's vague agenda and pretended that Biden was up to the task. This election really boils down to millions of Trumpers who believe in their bones, and not unreasonably, that the libs are responsible for everything gone sideways in America since 1967, while the libs seem to think that Trump single handedly kicked off The Great Slide. As the cliche goes, Trump's the symptom not the cause.

AND IT GOT CRAZIER on Thursday with Nancy Pelosi announcing she would lead a discussion on Friday about invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office on the grounds that the meds he's taking for his COVID treatment are affecting his mental health. “Come here tomorrow,” Pelosi told reporters Thursday. 'We're going to be talking about the 25th Amendment. I'll talk to you about that tomorrow. I'm not talking about it today except to tell you if you want to talk about that I'll see you tomorrow."

IN AN HOUR-LONG interview on Fox, Trump suggested Gold Star families may have infected him with COVID because they "like to hug me and kiss me," claimed he was Covid-free, said he wanted AG Bill Barr to indict Joe Biden and Barack Obama, and called Kamala Harris a "monster" and a "communist." He also said re Pelosi, "They don't call her Crazy Nancy for nothing." And Trump said Thursday morning he will not participate in a virtual debate with Biden. "That's not accessible to us. I beat him easily in the first debate. No, I'm not gonna waste my time in a virtual debate." (Objectively, they both lost.)

BIDEN, cackling at his witless comment, surfaced to remark on the fly that perched on Pence's head for a full two minutes during the debate, "Flies know when they smell it." (Laser Wit Biden)

A DOZEN Michigan yobbos have been arrested for allegedly plotting to kidnap the governor of Michigan, meaning these neo-fascist groups don't know the hard lesson learned in the sixties by left radicals: The guy suggesting felony-quality action is an FBI agent. On the subject of the G-Men, they were all over Mendo during the Earth First! period circa 1990, and maintained at least two snitches that I'm sure of, both named Mike. In my opinion, the FBI also funded the Mendocino Environment Center at 106 West Standley, Ukiah, in a building owned by Supervisor John McCowen. Sweeney made his headquarters there and, again in my opinion, it was the site where Sweeney slipped the bomb beneath the driver's seat of Judi Bari's Subaru that blew her up the next day, the device conveniently exploding a hundred miles south of the perp. 


(Sweeney lives comfortably in New Zealand exile, having retired from an unusual bifurcated career as 60s into 70s commie with a group responsible for at least two murders and numerous Bay Area bombings, and Mendocino County's highly paid trash bureaucrat, Sweeney being the ultimate re-invented Mendo personality, Mendo where you are whatever you say you are, and history starts all over again every day.

KATY TAHJA WRITES: "I'm writing a history of libraries and bookmobiles on the coast…will include Anderson Valley if you can hook me up with someone who might know if there ever was a library or reading room in the valley before what exists at the fairgrounds…and who is in charge of that library there? Name? E-Mail contact? Phone? Or any knowledgeable person who might know?" 

WHEN I LANDED in the Anderson Valley, circa 1970, I was happy to discover the Bookmobile, which I recall was presided over by Judge Luther's charming and erudite wife, Mary Luther. But my timeline may be off. I don't think Mary was on the Bookmobile that early, and I don't remember an Anderson Valley library prior to the establishment of the one presently at the Fairgrounds. Maybe Mary will see this and call you, Katy. She would know the answers to all your questions.

A LOCAL WONDERS, "How do we get Caltrans and or State Parks to pick up trash along 128? It is looking really bad. The more trash the more people trash. Whatever happened to the do not litter sign’s $300 fine. Looks like people forgot do not litter the Redwoods and the environment is not a convenient garbage can."

HOW DO WE get the people advertising themselves and their businesses on Caltrans road signs to actually pick up the roadside trash they claim to be picking up? Littering, btw, is now a thou in fines, as per a woof-woof sign on 128 just south of Boonville, but I've never heard of anybody being fined.

DITTO for Brown Act violations. The last time anybody even tried to get the Public Meetings Act enforced was Keith Faulder, now Judge Faulder, when he filed an action against the Point Arena School Board for trying to elude the public's right to know. As I recall, Faulder nailed PA on ten slam-dunk instances of violations. The school board's tax-paid lawyer, one of a whole nest of marginally competent attorneys headquartered in Santa Rosa, feebly counter-argued that the bumbling fogbelt school board was cleaner than clean, but newly elected DA Meredith Lintott (of course) magically agreed with the Santa Rosa jive-o attorney, probably to save her 9-5 office the work, and the PA school board went back to business as usual, presiding over a school district perennially under state supervision.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, October 8, 2020

Aitken, Alvarez, Beck, Carrigg

KELLY AITKEN, Willits. Suspended license (for reckless driving), probation revocation.

JACK ALVAREZ, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, paraphernalia. 

WARREN BECK II, Ukiah. Failures to appear.

SONO CARRIGG, Ukiah. Parole violation. (Frequent flyer.)

Harnett, Lee, Long

JESSE HARNETT, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

JAMES LEE JR., Ukiah. Assault with caustic chemical, battery with serious injury, probation revocation.

JEANETTE LONG, Ukiah. Petty theft with priors, forgery/false checks, controlled substance, paraphernalia, pot for sale, parole violation.

McGough, Mishou, Nace

MIKE MCGOUGH, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

WILLIAM MISHOU IV, Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation revocaiton.

THOMMY NACE, Ukiah. Probation violation.

Oresco, Sawdey, Sierra

AARON ORESCO, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

ALYSSA SAWDEY, Ukiah. No license, false personation of another, getting credit with someone else’s ID.

SAMUEL SIERRA, Ukiah. Controlled substance, failures to appear, probation revocation.

Silva, Starnes, Waugh

GABRIEL SILVA, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. DUI, sale/transportation of marijuana, conspiracy.

KEVIN STARNES, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)

ROBERT WAUGH, Fort Bragg. Domestic battery, probation revocation.

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Kramden’s Kitchen

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A good deal about California does not, on its own preferred terms, add up. The Sacramento River, the main source of surface water in a state where distrust of centralized governmental authority has historically passed for an ethic, has its headwaters in the far northern ranges of Siskiyou County. It picks up the waters of the McCloud and the Pit Rivers above Redding, of the Feather and the Yuba and the Bear below Knight’s Landing, of the American at Sacramento, of the San Joaquin below Steamboat Slough; and empties through the San Francisco Bay into the Pacific, draining the deep snowpack's of the Southern Cascades and the northern Sierra Nevada. "The river here is about 400 yards wide," one of my great-great grandfathers, William Kilgore, whose daughter Myra married into the Reese family, wrote in the Journal of his arrival in Sacramento in August of 1850. "The tide raises the water about 2 feet and steamboats and vessels are here daily. From this place to San Francisco is about 150 miles by water. All of this distance the river has low banks and is subject to inundation for several miles back." That the land to which he intended eventually to bring his wife and two children was "subject to inundation for several miles back" seems not to have presented itself as an argument against immediate settlement. "This is one of the trying mornings for me, as I now have to leave my family, or back out," he had written in his journal four months before. "Suffice it to say, we started." Yet this river that had been from the beginning his destination was one regularly and predictably given, during all but the driest of those years before its flow was controlled or rearranged, to turning its valley into a shallow freshwater sea 100 miles long and as wide as the distance between the Coast Ranges in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada: a pattern of flooding, the Army Corps of Engineers declared in 1927, more intense and intractable than that on any other American River system including the Mississippi.

This annual reappearance of a marsh that did not drain to the sea until the late spring or summer was referred to locally not as flooding but as "the high water," a seasonal fact of life, no more than an inconvenient but minor cost of the rich bottomland it created, and houses were routinely built with raised floors to accommodate it. Many Sacramento houses during my childhood had on their walls one or another lithograph showing the familiar downtown grid with streets of water, through which citizens could be seen going about their business by raft or rowboat. Some of these lithographs pictured the high water of 1850, after which a 3 foot earthen levee between the river and the settlement was built. Others showed the high water of 1852 during which that first levy was washed out. Still others show the high water of 1853 or 1860 or 1861 or 1862, nothing much changing except the increasing number of structures visible on the grid. "If you will take, on a map of California, Stockton, Sacramento and San Francisco as guiding points, you will see that a large part of the land lying between these cities is marked "swamp and overflowed," Charles Nordhoff, the grandfather of the co-author of Mutiny on the Bounty, wrote in his 1874 ‘Northern California, Oregon and the Sandwich Islands’:

"Until within five or six years these lands attracted but little attention. It was known that they were extremely fertile, but it was thought that the cost and uncertainty of reclaiming them was too great to warrant the enterprise. Of late, however, they have been rapidly bought up by capitalists and their sagacity has been justified by the results on those tracts which have been reclaimed. The decayed vegetable matter resulting from an immense growth of various grasses, and of the reed called the ‘Tule,’ which often grows 10 feet high in a season and decays every year. The swamp and overflowed lands were given by Congress to the state and the state has in its turn virtually given them to private persons. It has sold them for one dollar per acre of which 20% was paid down, or 20¢ per acre; and this money less some small charges for recording the transfer and for inspecting the reclamation, is returned by the state to the purchaser if he, within three years after the purchase, reclaims his land. That is to say, the state gives away the land on condition that it shall be reclaimed and brought into cultivation."

The creation of the entirely artificial environment that is now the Sacramento Valley was not achieved in one stroke, nor is it complete to this day. Bulletins on when and where the rivers would crest, on the conditions of levees and the addresses of evacuation centers remained into my adult life the spring commonplaces of Sacramento life, as did rumors that one or another levee had been (or was being, or would be) covertly dynamited by one or another agency looking to save one or another downstream community. During the years when repeated storms rolling in from the Pacific coincide with an early melting of the Sierra snowpack, levees still break, sections of interstate highway get destabilized by the rising water table, and the big dams go to crisis mode, trying to save themselves by releasing water as they get it, unchecked, no control, the runoff from the pack running free to the sea.

Joan Didion, "Where I Was From"

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MITCH CLOGG ALERTS us to the American Nobel Prize for literature:

Louise Glück just won the Nobel Prize for poetry. She was born in New York City. She pronounces her name as if it had an "i" in the middle. This is hers:


by Louise Gluck

In your extended absence, you permit me
use of earth, anticipating
some return on investment. I must report
failure in my assignment, principally
regarding the tomato plants.
I think I should not be encouraged to grow
tomatoes. Or, if I am, you should withhold
the heavy rains, the cold nights that come
so often here, while other regions get
twelve weeks of summer. All this
belongs to you: on the other hand,
I planted the seeds, I watched the first shoots
like wings tearing the soil, and it was my heart
broken by the blight, the black spot so quickly
multiplying in the rows. I doubt
you have a heart, in our understanding of
that term. You who do not discriminate
between the dead and the living, who are, in consequence,
immune to foreshadowing, you may not know
how much terror we bear, the spotted leaf,
the red leaves of the maple falling
even in August, in early darkness: I am responsible
for these vines.

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WUSS ALERT! (Who else wears a shirt list this?)

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WHAT OF TRUMP’S OPPONENTS, the Democrats, liberals and progressives? Coverage in the New York Times, on CNN, MSNBC and other venerable liberal outlets boils down to shaming Trump. ‘We told you so,’ they have repeatedly (and understandably) said. ‘This was inevitable, and even deserved.’ Shaming is a major and necessary form of social control in any public health emergency. We shame people who cough without covering their mouths or who do not wear masks or do not wear condoms – and we should. But there is more going on because shaming in particular, and the moralization of politics in general, has characterized the huge shift toward identity politics and progressive neoliberalism in recent years, and has played a major role in provoking the Trumpian backlash.

Above all, Democratic Party moralism and Trumpian macho risk-taking are internally related to one another. Gambling, with all its macho undertones, has a special if covert appeal to the evangelical or Puritan mind. It allows individuals to throw off the slow, painful and laborious burden of subordinating their wishes to the superego with one manic play of the dice. Running around without a mask in the face of a pandemic could serve as a huge relief from the endless self-examination of the hypertrophied Protestant conscience. Finally, it’s out of our hands; everything will be decided by ‘fate’.

This unspoken connection between a guilt-ridden, identity-driven mass culture and a risk-taking, macho opposition to it can tell us a lot about American politics. During the New Deal era, a fractious citizenry was held together by the understanding that capitalist greed was a common enemy. To be sure, Blacks and women were not full equals in the New Deal coalition, but they were more prominent than is sometimes realized today. In any event, the decline and marginalization of the socialist left since the 1970s opened the path for the widespread moralization and psychologization that marks our politics today.

A series of catastrophic events – including 9/11, the economic crisis of 2008 and the deeply disappointing character of the Obama presidency – led to the disastrous Trump presidency. The latest catastrophe, the Covid-19 pandemic, has revealed the deep untruth underlying Adam Smith’s claim that ‘individuals, without desiring or knowing it, and while pursuing each his own interest, are working for the direct realization of the general interest.’ The truth is that individuals pursuing their own interests produce group identities that have no sense of the general interest, but are rather marked by feelings of oppression, resentment or both. Only social trust and collective action, involving not only democratic co-ordination but genuine leadership, have a chance of returning us to a sense of the collective interest. In the US, a great anti-Trump coalition has formed but to what end after 3 November remains unclear.

— Eli Zaretsky

* * *


"And now was acknowledged the presence of the Red Death. He had come like a thief in the night. And one by one dropped the revelers in the blood-bedewed halls of their revel, and died each in the despairing posture of his fall.” 

(Edgar Allan Poe, The Masque of the Red Death)

* * *


Elite politicians invoke the rhetoric of national emergency only to behave like hapless passengers trapped aboard a sinking ship.

* * *

* * *

POLITICS OF CLIMATE Zoom presentation on Sunday, October 11 at 4pm by Doug Nunn

“I want clean air. I want clean water. I want the cleanest air, want the cleanest water. The environment is very important to me.”

Such was the claim made by President Donald Trump at the White House earlier this year. As we head toward the 2020 election in the midst of Western wildfires, following on those earlier in the year in Australia and the Amazon, and as the Trump administration works to emasculate and throttle the EPA, the Clean Air Act and the Paris Climate Accords, we must ask ourselves, what are the political realities of the Climate crisis in this election year? What are the environmental fiascoes we could face with 4 more years of Trump, McConnell and the politics of ecocide.

I am now offering a —Politics of Climate— presentation a follow up to the Climate Reality project show I have been presenting for the past 2 years. The —Politics of Climate— talks about the history of environmentalism in the US, the breaking of the longtime consensus on National Parks and conservation during the Reagan administration, the hiding of increasing evidence of Climate Change by the fossil fuel industries, and the one-sided denialism of the Republican Party in the last decades. Exploration of the Green New Deal, Cap & Trade, and Carbon taxes are part of the presentation as are a discussion of both the Biden and Trump candidate platforms on Climate Change and the Environment. The show is about an hour long and will be followed by a Q & A. Here below is the Zoom link for those interested. 

For further questions, please check in at

Please click the link below to join the Politics of Climate webinar on Sunday, October 11 at 4pm PST

A recording of —The Politics of Climate presentation will be available on YouTube on the Doug Nunn or —Nunnatelli site soon after October 11 –

* * *



  1. Eric Sunswheat October 9, 2020

    RE: Certain masks are more useless than others, with valved masks being among the worst, followed by homemade cloth masks. This includes both commercial cloth masks and N95-rated masks with one or two exhale ports.

    -> Sep. 8, 2020. Updated: Oct. 2, 2020 8:28 a.m.
    The most common misconception about the now-normal face coverings we all wear is that they prevent you from contracting the disease when their chief function is to keep you from spreading it.

    … you can test any mask you buy to see if they are providing proper protection: “Our customers do the water test, which is where you put some water in the mask and make sure it doesn’t leak out. I do an additional test: I hang the mask on a door, put some water in there, and make sure after 5 minutes there’s no water leaking out.”

  2. Eric Sunswheat October 9, 2020

    RE: …an ideal tool for a situation where roads were often inaccessible for vehicles due to downed trees. (Esther Mobley)

    ->. Home – The Great Redwood Trail.
    Located in Northern California, running from San Francisco Bay in Marin County to Humboldt Bay in the north, the legacy trail will run through some of the wildest and most scenic landscapes in the United States, traversing through the California redwoods, running alongside oak woodlands and vineyards, and winding through the magnificent Eel River Canyon.

    -> The trail will traverse the entirety of, or portions of, the North Coast Railroad Authority’s tracks, rights-of-way and other properties, taking hikers and bicycle and horseback riders through a stunning North Coast river canyon and old growth redwood forests.

    Propelled by Senate Bill 1029, which was approved by the California Legislature and Governor and authored by Senator Mike McGuire, the trail corridor stretches 300 miles from San Francisco Bay to Humboldt Bay.

  3. Betsy Cawn October 9, 2020

    Brown Act violations: After only a few months of observing the Lake County Board of Supervisors for only a few months (early 2001), it became blatantly obvious that the creation of the agenda and the manner of presenting “proposals” by various department heads were the result of behind the scenes crafting — since the Administration has the ability to go to all of the elected officials without violating the law, and the public’s ability to get straight answers about their concerns is minimal, at best.

    A popular dodge is the use of “boards, committees, and commissions” created by the authority of the Board. On the rare occasions when any of them actually report to their makers in a public forum, once in a while asking for permission to spend their meager budgets (not many committees or boards have them) in a manner designed to please the Board’s intentions, once again the public is given short shrift.

    Seldom (if ever), appointed officials — many of them department heads — provide reports on the results of spending programs, usually when a formal “notice of completion” requires Board approval before submittal to a funding agency, such as some federal programs insist on.

    Nowhere to be found are reports on results of funded projects or programs passed “through” to contractors, such as the non-profit organizations who are hired to deliver social services (especially for the extended, or never-ending, relief from disasters).

    Official announcements of “Notice of Intent” and “Notice of Completion” are hand-posted on a clip-board fixed to the exterior hallway leading to the Assessor-Recorder’s office; “legal notices” are published in the state-approved “newspaper of record” — requiring the purchase of the paper in order to be “informed.” There is no Public Information Office to answer questions, and the dispersion of information sources requires an inquirer to find — or ferret out — the correct way to make requests of various departments. Contractors generally answer none, referring back to the hiring agency.

    The Planning Commission here is presented with highly negotiated “Mitigated Negative Declarations” of “conditioned permits” endorsed by Community Development Department staff reports, which elide with aplomb any inconvenient details found in the “initial studies” which themselves are created under the county’s internally-divined “Environmental Protection Guidelines” (created in the 70s?) that manage to skip the extremely important question of impacts on water resources. Only on one or two occasions has a permit been “conditioned” by the requirement to provide a “Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting Plan” (CEQA), and even then the act of compliance is left up to the permittee, with a one-time minor fee to have an inspector visit the site and certify that the required mitigation has been completed satisfactorily.

    Major ordinances become “municipal codes.” Some of the most critical of these ignore the impact of unregulated water extraction, allowing the process called “ripening for development” to occur in front of our very eyes. One major vineyard operation installed huge water lines along “avenues” that can be seen — from 10,000 feet — as future “blocks” of side-by-side suburban homes; the potential claim for the “proof” of available water is established in the measurement of unregulated wells tapping into fragile aquifers uphill from established subdivisions (or, in the less visible countryside, above agricultural producers of “food and fiber” — the most sacred of sacred cows, but not shielded from groundwater depletion by any real restrictions in the county’s shameful “groundwater management” ordinance).

    The antiquated and mostly unenforced “stormwater management,” “shoreline management,” and highly culpable “grading” ordinances leave the destruction of our most significant natural resources up to the developers and their real estate backers. “Watershed” management — authorized by state legislation in 2004 by NorCal’s very own Wes Chesbro — established in theory to meet the federal demands of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (and potentially “restore the beneficial uses” of Clear Lake in accordance with State Water Board “orders” — also unenforced, and in fact based on unenforceable monitoring and reporting requirements from federal, state, incorporated and unincorporated agencies), has never been codified in an “enabling ordinance,” so it is not even included in the municipal codes.

    Making the process even more opaque is the general practice of placing contract approvals in the section of the Board agenda known as the “Consent” agenda. The agendas themselves do not appear for public consumption in a truly useful timeframe (72 WORKING hours prior to the hearing), so the persistent citizen must attend to proposed agendas that arrive after the close of business on Thursday — and find the offices closed to the public on Friday! (The Community Development Department is especially rude in informing a caller on the last day of the week, to call back on Monday.)

    With diligence, patience, and the grudging willingness of some staff, one might be able to get a question posed, if not actually answered, on a Friday — by having a direct phone number to a “responsible party” — but the general public is SOL.

    And a body of “Board of Supervisors Policies & Procedures” is completely unavailable to the public, kept in the offices of the Administration, and discerned in existence only when the Chief Administrative Officer or her deputies refer to the “established policy” guiding a past position on a proposed modification to management action — such as qualifications and classification of employees, which has been occurring here behind the scenes for agonizing months, after the critical department heads (and the Sheriff) reported ad nauseum the impacts of always having 20% fewer staff than are needed, and sometimes approved in “position allocations” in department budgets.

    Even those departments whose services are funded mostly by federal and/or state revenues, not subject to the local pay scale limitations, cannot get permission to hire the necessary man/womanpower to meet federal or state mandated functions to protect the public health and safety of our poverty-stricken populations.

    Despite the state’s Sunshine Laws, and various other challenges to the obfuscative practices, the Intent of the Ralph M. Brown Act brings no joy here:

    “In enacting this chapter, the Legislature finds and declares that
    the public commissions, boards and councils and the other public
    agencies in this State exist to aid in the conduct of the people’s
    business. It is the intent of the law that their actions be taken
    openly and that their deliberations be conducted openly.”

    “The people of this State do not yield their sovereignty to the
    agencies which serve them. The people, in delegating authority, do
    not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for
    the people to know and what is not good for them to know. The
    people insist on remaining informed so that they may retain control
    over the instruments they have created.”

    [Government Code Sections 54950-54963]

    The subject should be taught in high school, and every member appointed to a “board, committee, or commission” by the Board of Supervisors should receive training in how their participation is governed by the law. Instead, the county employs a “risk manager” (a.k.a., “county counsel”) to make sure that “decisions” made during legally-noticed public hearings meet the absolute minimum criteria of preventing the threat of lawsuit. Good luck with that, if you don’t have deep pockets and a cohort of influential supporters.

    The worst offenses are committed by the Local Agency Formation Commission, in which three elected county supervisors are in attendance and actively involved in important decision making — often related to those massive natural resource abuses not prevented by county municipal codes — even though, in strict practice, the “third” supervisor is an “alternate” voter in case one of the two voting supervisors is absent during a legal proceeding. And if you think these people don’t talk amongst themselves in unseen settings, please think again. Talk about a “culture club”!

  4. Lazarus October 9, 2020


    Hey H.
    Does this mean Trump won?

    Be Swell,

  5. Stephen Rosenthal October 9, 2020

    Wow, Kramden’s Kitchen! One of my all-time favorite TV shows. I had the foresight to record every episode of The Honeymooners on videotape, including The Lost Episodes. I’ll have to get that box out and binge watch them. Unlike a lot of you whippersnappers I still have a functioning VCR. Thanks for posting the photo and jogging the nether regions of my memory.

    P.S. The Honeymooners couldn’t be made today. The PC Cancel Culture would be appalled. Too bad America lost its sense of humor along the path to where we are today.

    • chuck dunbar October 9, 2020

      Very cool, Stephen. I remember watching and loving this show as a kid, a vivid memory that makes me smile. Jackie Gleason was a force of nature–I also recall well his variety show and the odd characters he made so real. Lastly, just watched the grim but well done movie, The Hustler, with Gleason and Newman, a true classic, and another example of Gleason’s range and fine work, long ago it seems now.

      • Stephen Rosenthal October 9, 2020

        Gleason was a comedic genius and a fantastic actor, as was Art Carney. Audrey Meadows more than held her own. Do you know that Gleason never rehearsed for The Honeymooners? He thought it would stifle the creativity of the show. Instead he did a one-time read through of the script outline and filmed it in one take before a live audience. Carney won an Oscar for Best Actor in Harry and Tonto. Those were the days.

  6. Joe October 9, 2020

  7. Mary Darling October 9, 2020

    KATY TAHJA – what is your email address?

  8. George Hollister October 9, 2020

    A comment on Tim McClure’s forest vision: Where he lives on the coast is different from most of the forests in California. Logged or not logged, the forests on the coast are less prone to have intense mega fires. Not that they are immune, just less prone. There are areas on the coast that are very vulnerable to catastrophic wildfires, if weather conditions were conducive for that. The pygmy forest with it’s brush and light fuels is just one example.

    The actions of people is what created the forests we have, and the forests that we have had, going back to the time long before 1492. There are no forests, at least not that I am aware of, in California that were not the result of humans playing the role of the Keystone Species to create and maintain them. We have the power and responsibility to create the forest we desire. It won’t happen on it’s own, and whatever we create will need to be maintained. What we do on public lands is necessarily different than what we have on private lands. I would not be so quick to slam actively logged commercial timberland. What we have seen in the last ten years is intense mega fires on lands not recently logged, but not on recently logged timber land. The lightning fires of the recent past are a good example of a less intense fire on actively logged timberland.

    The unmanaged climax forest that is immune to mega fires is largely a fantasy. The limiting factor for forest growth, and wild land growth in California, in general, is soil moisture. Because of that, an open canopy forest with fire prone brush and fine fuels in the understory is what always eventually develops. I won’t explain that here. Those fire prone fuels need to be dealt with, either by annual burning, grazing, mechanical treatments, or in some cases commercial thinning by logging. Logging, in itself, is not the problem. How it is done in order to meet a specific goal can be.

    The single biggest problem we face is a majority population that is completely disconnected from these realities. The result is what we see, the lands the majority are responsible for are going up in smoke for some of us to see, and all of us to breath.

    • Harvey Reading October 9, 2020

      Just more charlatanry and hokum, delivered as though you were a great scientist. How’s the project of turning lead into gold coming along, George?

  9. Harvey Reading October 9, 2020


    I hope they all do the same thing. Saltwater rusts metal stuff.

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