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MCT: Monday, October 12, 2020

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A COUPLE STORM SYSTEMS passing by to our north early this week will bring some clouds and even a couple showers to areas close to the Oregon border. Expect a gradual warming and drying trend through Tuesday, followed by unseasonably hot inland temperatures and fire weather concerns mid to late week. (NWS)

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YESTERDAY'S CLEARED AIR. Amazing what a little rain can do.

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WILLITS MAN MISSING SINCE FRIDAY Leaving Behind Wallet, Keys, and Phone

Jim Whetstone, a 69-year-old Willits man, has been missing since Friday, October 9, 2020. His daughter Sophia Martinez said Whetstone “left his home about 9 am Friday while the rest of the family was asleep.”

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Re: Mendo Coast Park & Rec District

Does the AVA have any information about, or endorsements of, the five candidates running for this board?  I just discovered I get to vote for them, and I hate to waste the opportunity for lack of information.  Only two bothered to put statements in the voter guide.

My main concern with the District is the golf course on Hwy 20.  Would like to vote for folks who can handle that in an environmentally responsible way.

Any info appreciated, 



ED REPLY: No recommendations on this race, except vote NO on Bushansky if his seat is up. The golf course scheme has been in the Coast air for years, driven by Coastlib's prominent Democrat, Jim Hurst, a golfer. I don't believe there's such a thing as an environmentally sound golf course, and I don't believe this project has much in the way of popular support, at least it never has. Anyway, Mendo-Fort Bragg golfers, given their skill levels, should stick to the pitch and putt course at Little River Inn where they've always seemed happy.

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THREE NEW COVID CASES reported in Mendocino County on Sunday bringing the total to 1045. Is an improvement taking place? In the last seven days 10/5-10/11 (inclusive) there have been a total of 35 new cases or an average of just five new cases a day. The previous week, 9/28-10/4 there were 66 for an average of 9.4 cases per day. The Dashboard is saying that the 7 day avg/7 day lag is 11.57. We don’t know how that’s calculated. But we think it’s being used to determine what restriction category the County is in. It looks like Mendo should be in a less restrictive category.

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Thank you, Wes Smoot.

For your wonderful article about the Gaskill School.

I've been driving by that building near the bottom of Haehl Hill for almost fifty years now wondering what its story was. By its design and size I knew it was a stock kit elementary school even as I slowed the car to puzzle who might be the local historian to tell the rest of the story.

Wes's recollection covers it all: the donating property owner, the school's origins and served community, and most rich what it was like to be a student in the one teacher elementary school system so successful all over rural America for 150 years.

His story also captures how isolated from one another the various Anderson Valley communities were even after World War II, and how intimidating Boonville town and its consolidated high school system was for a south of Yorkville boy in 1946.

Thank you for your snapshot of Anderson Valley life back then, Wes Smoot, eminent local historian.

Brad Wiley


PS: Wes, I've been asking for years: what's the story of the "Old Chatham Ranch" further up Haehl Hill?

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by Tommy Wayne Kramer

When homeless problems arose in Ukiah 30 or so years ago, citizens responded by giving handfuls of spare change to people on the outs.

This was back when a couple guys assumed daily positions out near freeway ramps with “Will Work for Food” signs, a good joke we all knew was false advertising. They stood hours in the hot sun, earned maybe $20, and the joke was on everyone.

But posters started to appear around town warning us not to give bums spare change. It was counterproductive, they said. “Give a Hand Up, Not a Handout” went the phrase, meaning stop giving aimless drifters spare change because all they’ll do is buy booze and cigarettes and maybe even some dope.

Giving a lost soul a dollar kept him trapped in a never-ending cycle of poverty and despair and homelessness, they said. There is a better answer. There is a solution. Don’t waste your money. It’s counterproductive.

Let us take care of it.

Yes, let the professionals take care of the homeless problem. Step back, keep your change in your pocket, your dollar in your wallet, and allow highly trained experts utilizing the latest scientific methodologies apply proven solutions to help the homeless.

So funding for nonprofit agencies, all run by well-educated social workers who knew the best and latest strategies in making sure homelessness was “brief, rare and one-time,” was accepted as the answer.

Solutions were simple, they said. Proposals presented to the public were guaranteed to produce results once various groups were given sufficient funding to network with other agencies, then collaborate and provide a variety of much-needed services.

Job training was a major component, along with rehabilitation programs and mental health services. Plowshares and the Ford Street Project were already in place, and next came the Buddy Eller House, vouchers, crisis units, “street medicine” and more.

Much, much more.

People in Ukiah accepted that when it came to a national problem like this, it was best to leave the hard work to the experts with training and experience. It made no sense to muck things up giving a buck to some guy so he could crawl under a bridge and then into a bottle and undo all the enormous progress he’d made earlier that day with a highly skilled professional counselor.

And so we all stood by while clear-thinking guides using established techniques passed down from knowledgeable sociologists at leading colleges and universities put Ukiah on a path to reducing the homeless population.

Well now.

It’s 2020 and what have those sharp-thinking, well-educated, highly professional homeless advocates brought to Ukiah? A disgrace and a disaster, that’s what. Not a single citizen would say, unless laughing, that our homeless situation is improved compared with the 1990s.

We’ve spent many, many millions of dollars and our streets are far, far worse. Ukiah is overrun with druggies, crazies, arsonists and tragedy.

For the latest example on how we’re “solving” homelessness visit the Burning Bridges shelter-type hangout on South State Street. Drive down and look. Keep your windows rolled up.

Now another proposed solution will spend many more millions with a rock-solid guarantee to make our homeless problem worse. You read that right. Read it again: More money, worse outcomes. Guaranteed. The county is purchasing a big motel on North Orchard costing $11 million and requiring expensive upgrades (two sinks in each room? Kitchens?) to provide much-needed shelter and services and blah blah blah for 56 homeless folks. Our leaders are crowing about bold steps and innovative thinking.

How much have all these programs for homelessness cost state and local budgets in the past 30 years? Now show us one unambiguous success, a single set of numbers proving these hotshot social workers ever solved a problem they promised to solve.

But of course their work is not yet done. There is more to do. Always more. Our goals in solving all of society’s problems are noble; they merely require citizens to stop being so stingy with their money. Or, as the city’s Shannon Riley so eloquently stated it:

“Recent actions by local government make Mendocino County eligible for some of the huge pots of money coming down the pipeline—-more money than we have ever seen for the homeless is coming to counties in the next few years.”

NOTE: There are 31 separate agencies in Mendocino County currently soaking up funding to make homelessness brief, rare, and one-time. Sure they are, ha ha.

If homelessness ends tomorrow all those professionals lose their jobs. You think funding for the Burning Bridges facility or to buy a motel for $11 million is meant to end the problem?

At least you didn’t squander a dollar on a State Street panhandler back in 1985.

Can you name a government program that might spend $11 million on you and 55 of your hardworking friends? Tom Hine thinks TWK might be eligible for funding.

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Albion Worker Housing

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FORT BRAGG RESIDENT JULIE WELLS WRITES: Unfortunately a lot of the business's were already closed prior to Covid. Especially in Fort Bragg. High rents are to blame. It's definitely been worse with covid…don't get me wrong. But driving down Franklin in Fort Bragg has been a sad sight to see for a long time. i am mostly refering to the emptiness of storefronts, restaurants, etc., based on the economy not related to covid. But yes now covid has made it worse. PS. Newsom is clueless, he lives behind doors.

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Navarro By The Sea, Vintage

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Looks like about an even split between people who really want chain stores in Fort Bragg or wouldn't mind them, and people who really hate chain stores or don't mind driving out of town to get to them. Oh boy, let the four-hour public comment sessions begin.

Considering this survey is skewed toward people who take computer surveys and, guessing that at least half the respondents live out of town, the actual sentiments of the Fort Bragg voters who will decide whether to allow chain stores is probably heavily in favor. Unless it's Autozone.

Grocery Outlet? Fresh Choice?? KFC???? Hellz to the yeah!!!! Mendo, Caspar, Little River, Albion residents, take it up with your county supervisor. Or move to Fort Bragg. Then you'll have a vote on this.

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As the COVID situation slowly improves, we all realize that it will take several years of adjusting to the “new normal.” Our economy, our workforce and redefining local government’s role are issues for critical thinkers who are our leaders.

I have endorsed Mo Mulheren for County Supervisor because I think she has the leadership skills to help guide us during our recovering chapter. She is extremely active in our community and listens to people who express concern. 

First of all, please vote. Vote for the candidates of your choice. The many propositions could change many aspects of our rural lifestyle. 

If you live in the Second District, please consider voting for Mo Mulheren. She will represent you well.

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Trees to Ships, Coast

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AN INTERESTING REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS appeared on Mendo’s official website last week:

“This Request for Proposal (RFP) announces the intent of the County of Mendocino to seek proposals for social media, web design, and training services for Sheriff-Coroner Office. The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office has a mandate to inform the public of the latest law enforcement news and developments happening within Mendocino County. In order to fulfill this duty, the Sheriff’s Office requires a private contractor to provide media, web design, and training services using social media platforms and traditional media channels. This use of social media enables the Sheriff’s Office to efficiently and effectively disseminate information about law enforcement, emergency operations, and county government programs and services as well as unusual circumstances/situations of immediate public interest.”

But, when one wades through page after page after page of boilerplate and finally gets to the “Description of Services” to be provided, that page is … BLANK. How would a potential bidder know how to respond with costs and services without the basic service description?

It could be that they only are looking for qualified bidders, but if that was true they should call it an RFQ and leave out the proposed contract and boilerplate until they’re ready to accept bids.

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Off Mendocino Bluffs

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My dear friend Edward Carter and I took off for a road trip Saturday to Mendocino National forest. Edward has been stalking eagle medicine lately and he wanted to take me along. So despite scattered showers we went for it! It was absolutely epic! We got to the upper reach of the Eel River near Lake Pillsbury which is dry because of drought. We saw incredible mountains, magnificent rainbows, we drove through several burn areas from the 2018 fires. The amount of regeneration in just two years is incredible! Among these hulking blackened trees there was/is a TREMENDOUS amount of new greenery— mullein, grasses, madrone and fir. It was completely inspiring to see how our mother earth works with fire! Toward the end of the day we witnessed a redtail hawk put on a wondrous aerial display for us. Although we did nor spot an eagle our hearts soared like one all day long!

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EARLY MORNING MARIJUANA ROBBERY NORTH OF LAYTONVILLE; Resident Suspects Thieves Using Drones To Case Cannabis Properties

Early this morning at least one armed individual crept onto on a rural cannabis farm 7 miles north of Laytonville west of Highway 101 and stole non-processed cannabis. According to an unnamed resident of the area, this is the fourth robbery of the season with a similar modus operandi in which thieves are using “drones to scope gardens, and stealthily coming in on foot to take what they can carry.”

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Mari Rodin gets the nod from her clique, and I go into raptures of ecstasy relishing over again in my mind’s eye the day she dumped her devoted hubby, the Honorable Clayton Brennan.

I was sitting at the Forest Club bar, my usual lunch counter, sipping a Coor’s Lite and looking in the mirror so I didn’t have to turn around to observe the traffic around the courthouse, when along came Judge Brennan. He was on foot, on the sidewalk across the street, and he paused just past the bail bondsman’s office to place a call on his cell. The judge had a concerned look on his face. I couldn’t hear the words, but judging by his demeanor, which deteriorated quickly, I assumed it was serious business. After a few terse comments, Brennan, shoved his phone in his pocked, angrily screwed a ring off his finger, and strode purposely down the block to the pawn shop.

He emerged some moments later, with a look of relief on his face and went back to the courthouse. I couldn’t help but sympathize with Brennan. Gold was at a price slump that week; and a few days later when the price jumped up again, the pawn broker would have made a tidy profit on his honor’s wedding ring. 

— Bruce McEwen

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You think you're slightly outta focus...try listening to the beginning of the District 1 supe forum — — Kate Maxwell could put a raging meth head to sleep (Kennedy's reaction is fun to watch).

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I'M OUT AT DAWN to shuffle up a challenging hill and on through the round-the-clock mausoleum streets of San Anselmo when this guy in a bathrobe, picking up the Chron from his driveway, pauses, big smile on his face, to wait for me to get closer. He's got a Biden/Harris poster on his lawn. (Marin is the national headquarters for middle-of-the-road extremism.) "Won't be long before he's gone, huh?" the guy greets me. "Yeah, Biden's definitely lost it," I reply, picking up my pace, gratified at the confusion on the guy's face. 

THE NEXT MORNING, same route, and versions of this interface have become common to me, two women, fifty-ish, are coming at me, full glares on high beam, keeping well to the other side of the road like my mere presence might be fatal to them. When they're nearly opposite, in unison, they mask up while one screeches, "Mask!" Cupping my ear I cock my head towards them like any other old deaf guy doing the best he can in trying times. "I'm sorry. I'll try harder, ladies. I pwomise." (Nothing like the plague to revive the milk monitors.) 

FOR YOUR FALSE ADVERTISING FILES: "Support our fearless journalism" on the Daily Beast's masthead. There's still some fearless journalism around but you've got to search it out, and it's not at the Daily Beast or the NYT, MSNBC, FOX, CNN. When journalism is truly fearless the government hit men come calling — cf Julian Assange, Snowden, any number of furriner scribes murdered over the past decade in every part of the globe.

NOT EXACTLY RECOMMENDED VIEWING because the victims are so repellent, but I've been watching 'The Vow,' a documentary on HBO about a yuppie cult whose leader, a rather obvious little sociopath called Keith Ranieri, who brands the women who comprise his inner circle, one of them, it is alleged, on her vagina. Fortunately, we're spared the mechanics of that one. By brand I mean this creep — his acolytes anyway, but probably him too — brands them. With a branding iron. With his initials. The cultists are all desperate narcissists who believe guru daddy is an all-round genius, and we duly get lots of clips of the genius instructing groups of rapt, up-market morons (including the heiresses to the Bronfman/Seagram’s booze fortune) in how to get themselves "actualized" and out there to takeover America and save the world as only they can do so long as they listen to him and, of course, pay him lots and lots for his advice. It's a sad documentary. As obnoxious as a lot of the vics are you still come away feeling sorry for them for being so needy, so gullible. 

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On Friday, October 9, 2020 at approximately 2:55 p.m., a Mendocino County Sheriff’s Deputy was on duty and on patrol in the 33000 block of Little Valley Road in Fort Bragg.

While driving through that area, the Deputy observed a vehicle parked on privately owned property the Deputy knew was vacant. The Deputy also observed the vehicle was parked in a position that provided the vehicle concealment.

The Deputy entered the property and upon further investigation found the vehicle was occupied by Sean Hilliard, 43 and Frankie Lemus-Cortez, 23, both of Fort Bragg. 

Hilliard, Lemus-Cortez

The Deputy also observed the passenger compartment of the silver 4-door Mazda CX7 hatchback was unusually overloaded with property. Upon inquiry, the Deputy learned Lemus-Cortez entered one of two residences on the property to use the bathroom. The Deputy also confirmed that Hilliard was on active misdemeanor probation that included a 4th Amendment search waiver.

Based on the above, both subjects were detained pending further investigation into their activity at the location. 

After additional Deputies arrived on scene, Deputies determined that both residences had been entered, one of which the exterior door was forced open. During a search of the vehicle and residences, Deputies were able to determine that property inside the vehicle was taken from within one or both residences, as well as other outbuildings on the property. One of the residences was occupied by an 82 year-old woman from Willits.

Deputies subsequently arrested Hilliard and Lemus-Cortez for second degree burglary and conspiracy to commit a crime. Hilliard was also arrested for violating his probation. 

Both suspects were transported to the Mendocino County Jail where they were booked and are being held in lieu of $50,000 bail. 

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On Friday, October 9, 2020 at approximately 9:42am, an on duty Ukiah Police officer observed a vehicle commit a traffic violation in the 700 block of S. State St. The officer activated his patrol vehicle’s overhead emergency lights and initiated a traffic enforcement stop on the vehicle. The vehicle yielded to the officer in the 800 block of S. State St.

The officer contacted the driver (Christopher Mendez) and the passenger (Brooke Kahaner) of the vehicle and asked for their identification. 

Mendez, Kahaner

Mendez advised the officer he did not have a driver’s license and provided a false name and date of birth to the officer. The officer returned to his patrol vehicle and provided the false name to UPD Dispatch and asked them to run a records check. UPD Dispatch advised the officer they were unable to locate a record on the name that was provided, but advised the officer they found a “close match” and believed the driver’s true identity was Christopher Mendez. UPD Dispatch advised the officer the subject that was a “close match” had three active felony warrants out of Los Angeles Police Department.

The officer returned to the suspect vehicle and contacted the driver of the vehicle. The officer advised the driver he believed the driver had lied about his identity and asked the driver for his true identity. The driver admitted to the officer he lied about his identity and confirmed his true identity was Christopher Mendez. Mendez advised the officer he was aware he had warrants out of Los Angeles and advised he did not want to go back to jail.

The officer asked Mendez to step out of the vehicle. Mendez refused to step out of the vehicle and attempted to roll his window up on the officer. The officer reached inside the vehicle and opened the driver’s door. The officer again ordered Mendez out of the vehicle, but Mendez refused. The officer took control of Mendez’s arm and pulled him out of the vehicle. Once Mendez was removed from the vehicle Mendez attempted to run from the scene, but the officer maintained control of Mendez’s arm and prevented Mendez from fleeing. Mendez turned and faced the officer and began punching the officer. The officer and Mendez engaged in a brief fight until Mendez again attempted to flee the area by running into the middle of So. State St. The officer ran after Mendez and another fight ensued between Mendez and the officer in the middle of the roadway. The officer deployed his taser at Mendez, which had no effect on Mendez. Mendez and the officer fell to the ground where Mendez continued to resist the officer’s efforts to take him into custody. Two additional UPD officers arrived on scene and Mendez was taken into custody.

During the altercation between Mendez and the officer, the passenger of the vehicle, Kahaner, had exited the vehicle. During Mendez’s arrest Kahaner attempted to approach the arresting officers. The officers advised Kahaner to keep her distance from them as they struggled with Mendez. After Mendez was arrested, Kahaner was advised she was detained during the investigation. Kahaner began screaming at officers and failed to obey lawful commands. Due to Kahaner’s escalating behavior she was advised she was going to be detained in handcuffs. As Officers attempted to place Kahaner in handcuffs Kahaner became physically resistive. Officers were able overcome Kahaner’s resistance and place her under arrest.

A search of Mendez and Kahaner’s vehicle was performed. Approximately 69 pounds of marijuana and items commonly associated with marijuana sales were located in the vehicle. A used methamphetamine pipe was also located in the vehicle.

Mendez was transported to Ukiah Valley Medical Center for treatment of injuries sustained during his arrest. One law enforcement officer sustained minor injuries during the incident, but medical treatment was not necessary. Mendez and Kahaner were ultimately booked at the Mendocino County Jail for the above listed offenses. Mendez is being held on a $15,000 bail. At the time this press release was prepared Kahaner had already been released from jail on a pre-trial release.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, October 11, 2020

Brown, Gilbert, Gonzalez, Guerrero


JAMES GILBERT, Roswell, New Mexico/Ukiah. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun, battery with serious injury.

VICENTE GONZALEZ, Redwood Valley. Domestic battery, damage-destroy communications device.

CHRIS GUERRERO, Willits. Transport-sale of organic drug-controlled substance with false compartment, probation revocation.

Gutierrez, Hilliard, Lopez, Mendez

CARLOS GUTIERREZ, Ukiah. Loaded handgun-not registered owner.

SEAN HILLIARD, Fort Bragg. Burglary, conspiracy, probation revocation.

VICTOR LOPEZ, Willits. Evasion. 

CHRISTOPHER MENDEZ, Chatsworth/Ukiah. Grand theft, Honey oil extraction, concealed dirk-dagger, pot possession for sale, transport of pot, paraphernalia, false ID, resisting, failure to appear/

Owen, Richardson, Vazquez

RAYMOND OWEN, Hopland. Probation revocation.

KIRK RICHARDSON, Ukiah. County parole violation.

EDGAR VAZQUEZ, Ukiah. DUI, controlled substance for sale/transportation, paraphernalia, no license, pot possession for sale-transportation.

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Let’s go out to eat, 2020 style…

1. Arrive at restaurant, take mask off mirror (or out of glove compartment) where it hangs or lays every day when not in use.

2. Slip it on, trying not to ruin the hairdo.


3. Proceed into restaurant, opening door with same handle grabbed by 200 people so far today.

4. Hostess who touches her face and mask an average of three times per minute has immediate seating for your woke party of three. Walk past entire restaurant of unmasked people. It’s ok, they’re sitting.

5. Sit down.


6. Safely within your anti-germ force field, remove mask. Browse menu while making relaxed inhales of the same recirculated AC air previously inside the lungs of the 200 people that also grabbed the door handle.

7. Waitress, who touches her face and mask an average of three times per minute drops off drinks bare handed, which she touches her face and mask with three times per minute, on average.

8. Grab drink with your bare hand. Sip leisurely, secure in knowing you’re within your anti-germ force field of “seated-ness”.

9. Too many drinks. Need to pee. Don the magical anti-germ barrier mask as you leave your anti-germ force field of “seated-ness”.

10. Walk past 40 unmasked restaurant patrons. Open bathroom with same doorknob grabbed by 100 other people so far today.

11. Return to table past same 40 unmasked restaurant patrons.

12. Remove mask. Once again safe in your anti-germ force field of “seated-ness”. Waitress takes your sweaty drink glass with her bare hand which she touches her face and mask with an average of three times per minute, refills, hands back to you. You accept with your bare hand. Grab some bread and eat it. Same hand. Yum Yum.

13. Meal complete. Mask on. Walk past 40 unmasked patrons. Make full body contact with at least 4 people waiting at the hostess stand as you squeeze your way back to the door – no matter, they’re all also wearing their magical anti-germ barriers.

14. Grab exit handle, which you are now the 220th person of the day to touch. Eating out successful.

15. Breathe a sigh of relief knowing that even after leaving the protection of your home and venturing out into the scary world of the public, you are essentially sterile thanks to your state approved methods of magical germ mitigation, THE MASK! (anon)

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The coronavirus pandemic has starkly demonstrated the urgent need for greater international cooperation to address all major threats to the health and welfare of humankind. Paramount among them is the threat of nuclear war. The risk of a nuclear weapon detonation today — whether by accident, miscalculation or design — appears to be increasing, with the recent deployment of new types of nuclear weapons, the abandonment of longstanding arms control agreements, and the very real danger of cyber-attacks on nuclear infrastructure. Let us heed the warnings of scientists, doctors and other experts. We must not sleepwalk into a crisis of even greater proportions than the one we have experienced this year.

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TWITTER has announced changes to allow more ‘inclusive’ terminology. Racism sensitivities will apparently be addressed by changing words such as ‘blacklist’ to ‘denylist’; gender issues will be dealt with by changing ‘guys’ to ‘folks’ and so on. It’s great to see Twitter finally getting to grips with the appalling cesspit of vile, threatening, abusive crap that is pumped over its platform all day every day – by focusing on such comparatively trivial virtue-signalling nonsense. As so often, it fell to Ricky Gervais to ask the obvious question. ‘Why isn’t this in Braille?’ he tweeted. 

— Piers Morgan

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All the Ballyhoo and hoopla about the upcoming election. Who really believes choosing senile Joe/Copmala Harris or the Orange Orangutan/religious nutjob Pence is going to make a difference or change the trajectory or outcome of the impending collapse?

With Bernie Sanders out, there went any last chance we may have had to have someone at the helm that would make sure we all had access to food, water, shelter, transportation, and maybe some access to medical care regardless of people’s ability to pay or when the dollars they have are worthless.

Is it me, or do the deep government/Pentagon types seem to be backing brain damaged Biden (like they did that vile pig Clinton in 2016) because they plan to use military intervention/violence to try to save the empire and keep the party going? I am foreseeing a day soon when it will be considered treasonous if you have the audacity to question all this new McCarthyism/demonization of Russia. It is obvious to me that they view them as the greatest obstacle in maintaining hegemony over the world, the middle east in particular.

They seem to have it in for Trump because he doesn’t trust them, wanted to release documents related to the JFK coup by LBJ and the deep government, and doesn’t do as he is told like that rat bastard Obama (I actually voted for that sell out in 2008) and all the other clowns and puppets before him. Like Bitchlary Clinton would have, like senile Biden/Copmala Harris will do. I include that witch because Biden is clearly unfit for the job and so she will likely inherit the command.

Tempted to vote Trump like I did in 2016 (to pay that POS Clinton back and her corrupt cauldron of corporate whores and sell outs known as the DNC and/or the demonrat party). I think Biden will win. So the collapse advances in 2021, various resource wars will break out, more civil unrest and rioting, and no progressive measures taken to prevent us from getting skinned alive. Stash or liquidate your assets while you can, the creditor class and the government will steal from you until there is nothing left to steal.

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KEEP 49ERS GREAT FRED DEAN in your thoughts as he battles coronavirus

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You die when your spirit dies.
Otherwise, you live.
You may not do a good job of it, but you go on —
something you have no choice about.

When I tell this to my children
they pay no attention.
The old people, they think —
this is what they always do:
talk about things no one can see
to cover up all the brain cells they’re losing.
They wink at each other;
listen to the old one, talking about the spirit
because he can’t remember anymore the word for chair.

It is terrible to be alone.
I don’t mean to live alone —
to be alone, where no one hears you.

I remember the word for chair.
I want to say — I’m just not interested anymore.

I wake up thinking
you have to prepare.
Soon the spirit will give up —
all the chairs in the world won’t help you.

I know what they say when I’m out of the room.
Should I be seeing someone, should I be taking
one of the new drugs for depression.
I can hear them, in whispers, planning how to divide the cost.

And I want to scream out
you’re all of you living in a dream.

Bad enough, they think, to watch me fall apart.
Bad enough without this lecturing they get these days
as though I had any right to this new information.

Well, they have the same right.

They’re living in a dream, and I’m preparing
to be a ghost. I want to shout out

the mist has cleared —
It’s like some new life:
you have no stake in the outcome;
you know the outcome.

Think of it: sixty years sitting in chairs. And now the mortal spirit
seeking so openly, so fearlessly —

To raise the veil.
To see what you’re saying goodbye to.


I didn’t go back for a long time.
When I saw the field again, autumn was finished.
Here, it finishes almost before it starts —
the old people don’t even own summer clothing.

The field was covered with snow, immaculate.
There wasn’t a sign of what happened here.
You didn’t know whether the farmer
had replanted or not.
Maybe he gave up and moved away.

The police didn’t catch the girl.
After awhile they said she moved to some other country,
one where  they don’t have fields.

A disaster like this
leaves no mark on the earth.
And people like that — they think it gives them
a fresh start.

I stood a long time, staring at nothing.
After a bit, I noticed how dark it was, how cold.

A long time — I have no idea how long.
Once the earth decides to have no memory
time seems in a way meaningless.

But not to my children. They’re after me
to make a will; they’re worried the government
will take everything.

They should come with me sometime
to look at this field under the cover of snow.
The whole thing is written out there.

Nothing: I have nothing to give them.

That’s the first.
The second is: I don’t want to be burned.


On one side, the soul wanders.
On the other, human beings living in fear.
In between, the pit of disappearance.

Some young girls ask me
if they’ll be safe near Averno —
they’re cold, they want to go south a little while.
And one says, like a joke, but not too far south —

I say, as safe as anywhere,
which makes them happy.
What it means is nothing is safe.

You get on a train, you disappear.
You write your name on the window, you disappear.

There are places like this everywhere,
places you enter as a young girl
from which you never return.

Like the field, the one that burned.
Afterward, the girl was gone.
Maybe she didn’t exist,
we have no proof either way.

All we know is:
the field burned.
But we saw that.

So we have to believe in the girl,
in what she did. Otherwise
it’s just forces we don’t understand
ruling the earth.

The girls are happy, thinking of their vacation.
Don’t take a train, I say.

They write their names in mist on a train window.
I want to say, you’re good girls,
trying to leave your names behind.


We spent the whole day
sailing the archipelago,
the tiny islands that were
part of the penisula

until they’d broken off
into the fragments you see now
floating in the northern sea water.

They seemed safe to me,
I think because no one can live there.

Later we sat in the kitchen
watching the evening start and then the snow.
First one, then the other.

We grew silent, hypnotized by the snow
as though a kind of tubulence
that had been hidden before
was becoming visible,

something within the night
exposed now —

In our silence, we were asking
those questions friends who trust each other
ask out of great fatigue,
each one hoping the other knows more

and when this isn’t so, hoping
their shared impressions will amount to insight.

Is there any benefit in forcing upon oneself
the realization that one must die?
Is it possible to miss the opportunity of one’s life?

Questions like that.

The snow was heavy. The black night
transformed into busy white air.

Something we hadn’t seen revealed.
Only the meaning wasn’t revealed.


After the first winter, the field began to grow again.
But there were no more orderly furrows.
The smell of the wheat persisted, a kind of random aroma
intermixed with various weeds, for which
no human use has been as yet devised.

It was puzzling —  no one knew
where the farmer had gone.
Some people thought he died.
Someone said he had a daughter in New Zealand,
that he went there to raise
grandchildren instead of wheat.

Nature, it turns out, isn’t like us;
it doesn’t have a warehouse of memory.
The field doesn’t become afraid of matches,
of young girls. It doesn’t remember
furrows either. It gets killed off, it gets burned,
and a year later it’s alive again
as though nothing unusual has occured.

The farmer stares out the window.
Maybe in New Zealand, maybe somewhere else.
And he thinks: my life is over.
His life expressed  itself in that field;
he doesn’t believe anymore in making anything
out of earth. The earth, he thinks,
has overpowered me.

He remembers the day the field burned,
not, he thinks, by accident.
Something deep within him said: I can live with this,
I can fight it after awhile

The terrible moment was the spring after his work was erased,
when he understood that the earth
didn’t know how to mourn, that it would change instead.
And then go on existing without him.

— Louise Gluck

* * *



  1. Eric Sunswheat October 12, 2020

    RE: Giving a lost soul a dollar kept him trapped in a never-ending cycle of poverty and despair and homelessness, they said. There is a better answer. There is a solution.
    (Tommy Wayne Kramer)

    -> September 29, 2020
    This November, Oregonians will vote whether to legalize the therapeutic use of psilocybin, otherwise known as ‘magic mushrooms.’

    On Tuesday, supporters of Measure 109 came together virtually to talk about the mental health benefits of the drug.

    If passed, this measure would allow the manufacture, delivery and administration of psilocybin at supervised, licensed facilities to adults aged 21 and over.

    Currently, the manufacturing and consumption of this drug is illegal under both state and federal law.

  2. Gary Smith October 12, 2020

    I thought it took millions to emigrate to New Zealand. How did Mike Sweeney pull that off?

    • Bruce Anderson October 12, 2020

      He’s got at least a mil, probably much more than a mil being a frugal person of sober habits. He got a nice hunk from the bogus but winning federal suit brought by Bari-Cherney; Probably got a large hunk from dad, an oil exec and Nixon admin official; he has a nice retirement from the County of Mendo; he probably cleared $7-800,000 from the sale of his house west of Ukiah on Running Springs Road (where Mike was the only person in the neighborhood without a numbered public address);and he got at least one tidy profit from the sale of the property he and Bari owned in Redwood Valley. Joined at the hip to Mendolib, especially one of its lead herd bulls, Richard Shoemake, Mendolib took excellent care of their little assassin.

  3. Stephen Rosenthal October 12, 2020


    God had a good thing going until he/she/it (or whatever) created the human race. (With no apologies to the gender sensitive snowflakes that will undoubtably take offense.)

  4. Lazarus October 12, 2020


    Black Cats Matter…

    Be Safe,

  5. Marmon October 12, 2020


    “So funding for nonprofit agencies, all run by well-educated social workers who knew the best and latest strategies in making sure homelessness was “brief, rare and one-time,” was accepted as the answer.”

    These non-profits are not being run by well-educated social workers, they’re being run by therapist, and that’s what’s destroying Ukiah. I’m glad I went to what some today would call a right wing college, California State University, Sacramento (CSUS). I actually attended a real “School of Social Work”. Many of my classes coincided with Law enforcement which led to a lot of great class discussions.

    Mendocino County has a difficult time recruiting and/or retaining real social workers and those who do come here are lured here with the promise of getting hours from one of the non-profits to become Licensed Clinical Social Workers (aka therapist). Many of them are young, fresh out of college with little work or life experience. They are hired by the county at CPS and referred to the Schraeders or one of their sub-contractors to become non-paid interns in their off hours. The County will work with them to make sure they get their 8 hours a week from the Schraeders. If any of them start asking questions or giving advice, they’re gone. Meanwhile nothing gets any better for my hometown, Ukiah.


    • Douglas Coulter October 12, 2020

      Smells fishy to any pussy I know

    • Douglas Coulter October 12, 2020

      Bureauaracy always self destructs, it’s goal is failure.
      Watch Ikuri by Kurosawa for the best exploration and Brazil for the dark humor, note original version is best.
      Every major war mucks out the bureaucrat generals and puts in the Grants and Pattons.

  6. Malcolm Macdonald October 12, 2020

    About Mendocino Coast Recreation & Park District election: Cynthia Coupe has dropped out of the race. Before considering John Huff, readers would be advised to look at three AVA articles from August. Bob Bushansky is not up for re/election this year, but is one of three (John Huff is another) board members State Parks has requested leave the MCRPD board before they lift their ban on giving any more grants to the district.

  7. Lazarus October 12, 2020

    RE Louise Gluck

    It is of no wonder she won the “Prize”.

    Be Well,

  8. michael turner October 12, 2020

    Did that Clay Brennan story occur before or after Bruce McEwen’s 18th drink? What a waster.

    • Bruce McEwen October 12, 2020

      It was before I was married, kind Doctor, so of course I had no one to keep count of my beers and, consequently, cannot, in all honesty, answer your patently rhetorical question. But then you only wanted to cast the usual Puritanical aspersion, the smug sanctimony of the sober and well-heeled, dashed contemptuously onto the head of your sincere well-wisher &c.

    • Bruce McEwen October 12, 2020

      On reflection, I find your comment has inspired me to take this opportunity to compose my epitaph, a duty we all should should consider in these uncertain times, so here goes:

      Here lies Bruce McEwen. What little good he has done, if any, lies interred with him. The lies he told, however, will resound and echo down through the ages as the truth, your honor, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me — wait! Strike that! — let me rephrase that last bit to read, …and nothing but the truth under penalty of perjury.

      Whew, what a relief to get that taken care of, now all I need do is update my last will & testament.

      • michael turner October 12, 2020

        Ha ha, great responses. Cheers. Still a shitty story though.

  9. Jacob October 12, 2020

    About chain stores and formula businesses in Fort Bragg:
    Although only Fort Bragg residents can have the opportunity to vote on proposed construction projects and land use matters within the city limits (or the city councilmembers who might make those decisions), all members of the community, including those living outside the city limits, like Albion, still have the opportunity to participate in the permit approval process through Planning Commission public hearings, appeals to the City Council, and appeals to the California Coastal Commission. Residents and non-residents alike can also bring legal challenges concerning those decisions should the City of Fort Bragg fail to follow the proper procedure or adequately fall short in addressing the environmental impacts of a particular chain store proposal. Anyone can chime in during this public process and anyone who does can hold the City accountable when their concerns are ignored or dismissed improperly. The formula business ordinance will create regulations by which potential future chain store projects will be evaluated and will provide the framework that any member of the public, including the hopeful developer and other non-Fort Bragg residents, will have to use to try to promote or oppose the proposed chain store. In that way, it is important for all members of the community (from city voters to Albion residents) to let the Fort Bragg City Council and Fort Bragg Planning Commission know how they want Fort Bragg to handle proposals for future types of formula businesses. The City’s online survey is probably not the best way to do so because the questions appear to be poorly structured and overly simple. As Chris point out, anyone interested in how Fort Bragg regulates chains stores can join the Fort Bragg Planning Commission this Wednesday, October 14th starting at 6:00 PM to make public comments via Zoom at:

  10. Craig Stehr October 12, 2020

    My very warmest spiritual greetings to all of the AVAistas, Presently I am in residence at The Magic Ranch in Redwood Valley, CA. We are listening to east Indian temple trance-style music, and enjoying the mountain of food purchased using my Hawaiian Kokua (Snap) card. Meanwhile, am playing the California LOTTO again. Salvation Army in Honolulu emailed to say that they plan to pay all of my over $2500 back rent at the Plumeria Hostel Alternative, which means that I will be allowed to keep any future government stimulus checks. My 71st birthday came and went, with an appropriate BBQ celebration at the hostel grill and adjacent tiki bar. Some rare island herb was offered by Hawaiian friends who attended. The local government has commiserated with me that due to the politicians shutting down the tourist economy, was denied the opportunity to earn money as an “independant contractor” preparing guest rooms at the hostel for incoming surfers. That, by the way, was why I was NOT working for money. To my declining number of critics, I was not at all interested in being unemployed and hanging out at Waikiki Beach and doing yoga. C

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