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MCT: Friday, October 23, 2020

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GUSTY NORTH WINDS WEAKEN TODAY and a few light showers are possible for the north coast tonight. Conditions dry out and gusty northeast winds increase once again Sunday and early next week. (NWS)


The National Weather Service issued a high wind watch starting Sunday afternoon for most of the Bay Area, warning of overnight gusts in the North Bay hills that could reach more than 70 mph in what is expected to be the strongest wind event so far this year.

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THE GOOD NEWS, THE BAD NEWS: Flu Shots & Testing

It has taken us all morning to get all the data in. We did 230 flu shots in two hours. That is more than we have ever done at a free flu shot event and we are now considering a second date in the coming weeks. 

On another note, UCSF has abruptly cancelled the contract with the county that allows us to provide free surveillance testing in the community (as of October 31st). We are trying to figure out what we can do, and next steps, but it is looking highly likely that free covid testing in Anderson Valley, Laytonville, Fort Bragg and Gualala will not continue without an alternate solution. We urge the community to contact elected supervisors and the public health officer if they would like to advocate for free local testing. 

— Chloe Guazzone, Anderson Valley Health Center Director

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THREE MORE COVID CASES reported in Mendocino County on Thursday, bringing total to 1121, more than three-fourths of them in the Ukiah area. 

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“FROM A LYING PERSPECTIVE, Trump is even worse tonight than in the first debate … an absolute avalanche of lying.”

— Daniel Dale

'I GENERALLY AVOID TEMPTATION,' said actress Mae West, 'unless I can't resist it.' My mind turned to this wonderful quote numerous times during last night's second and final presidential debate as I watched Donald Trump's face. Time and again, I could tell he was itching to take the gloves off and start ranting abusively and personally at his opponent Joe Biden, as he had done in the first debate. But to my astonishment, instead of succumbing to his basest instincts, Trump pursed his lips, screwed up his cheeks, grimaced, scowled and, for the most part, avoided temptation. I thought Biden had a good debate, certainly by his standards. He was almost gaffe-free, didn’t stumble too much, and was at his best when he displayed genuine anger and passion over America’s appalling coronavirus death toll, and the devastation it has caused to so many families. Biden’s own experience with personal tragedy gives him a deep and very authentic empathy valve that can’t be manufactured. He knows what it means to suffer real loss and it showed.

— Piers Morgan

FIVE EXCHANGES That Defined the Final Debate of 2020

50 million people voted already. If you’re not one of them, and you’re still undecided, here’s what you need to know.

by Tessa Stuart, Ryan Bort, Jamil Smith & Ti Dickinson

The first debate was pandemonium. The second was canceled after the president was hospitalized with Covid-19. The third and, mercifully, last debate was a relatively sedate affair. It took place a week and half before what we call Election Day, but already 50 million Americans have locked in their votes across the country. Moderator Kristen Welker of NBC News kept unflinching command of the contest at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, even as Trump insisted to the black moderator that he was the “least racist person in the room.”

Trump, the incumbent, repeatedly tried to play the insurgent, frequently attacking Biden as a “politician,” as though Trump himself had not been constantly campaigning for office since 2015. Biden repeatedly called out Trump on both substance (the stain of separating children from their parents at the border) and character (mocking him for repeatedly comparing himself to Abraham Lincoln while pursuing a brazenly bigoted agenda as president).

The contest did not feature any knock-out punches, and only a few blows below the belt. It’s unlikely it will be remembered as a game changer in the 2020 election. But it succeeded in showcasing the contrast between the candidates. Trump was Trump, a bundle of his grievance and conspiracy, shameless skating through the debate on lies. Biden was Biden, dutiful, decent, at times ineloquent, but quick to call out “malarkey.”

Here are five of the most memorable moments from the final debate of the 2020 election:

“I take full responsibility. It’s not my fault.”

Journalists have written millions of words trying to pin down the psychology informing Trump’s approach to the presidency. Trump did it himself in one sentence Thursday night while attempting to defend his record on Covid-19. “I take full responsibility, it’s not my fault.”

When Biden called out Trump for his explicit refusal to take responsibility for his administration’s response to the pandemic, Trump reflexively countered Biden before immediately reverting to his default state of blaming everyone but himself for the devastation the pandemic has wrought on America.

That devastation will continue absent any sort of coherent plan to stop it, but when asked for specifics about what he intends to do, Trump could only recycle the same tired points about how he barred people from entering the United States from China, how the virus will “soon be gone,” and how a vaccine that experts say may not be widely available until 2021 is “ready” and would be announced “within weeks.” When Welker followed up, Trump admitted that a few weeks might not be accurate. No shit.

To quell any lingering concerns, Trump reminded Americans that he understands vaccine development better than the scientists. “My timeline is more accurate,” the president said.

Biden, by contrast, stressed the need to wear masks, promised he would invest in rapid testing, and said he would work to set nationwide standards for how businesses can open safely. “We ought to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time,” Biden said when Trump accused him of wanting to “close down the country if one person in our massive bureaucracy” tells him to.

Biden also promised to be transparent with the American people, citing the moment Trump admitted on tape that he deliberately downplayed the severity of the virus in order to prevent people from panicking. “Americans don’t panic,” Biden said. “He panicked.”

“It’s not about his family and my family, it’s about your family.”

When the topics for this final presidential debate were released publicly, the Trump campaign was furious over the fact that “foreign policy” was not among the listed issues. Campaign manager Bill Stepien went so far as to write a two page letter to the Commission on Presidential Debates demanding a change. (They didn’t grant it.) On Thursday night, during the national security segment, viewers found out why. President Trump was intent on needling Biden over an unproven allegation that the wife of the former mayor of Moscow paid $3.5 million payment to an investment firm linked to Hunter Biden. (Hunter Biden’s lawyer denies the claim, and fact-checkers at multiple outlets have failed to find support for the allegation.) He went on to claim there was “a very strong email” suggesting influence peddling in China. 

Biden swiped back at Trump, hitting him over the revelations that he has a previously undisclosed bank account in China, and his ongoing refusal to publicly release his tax returns. ”What are you hiding?” Biden said. “Release your tax returns or stop talking about corruption.” 

Trump trotted out the old excuse that he is under audit, and added a new set of claims he “prepaid” “tens of millions of dollars” of tax returns. Oh, and that $750 dollars that his leaked tax returns show he paid in 2017 and 2018? That was just a “filing fee.”

Biden, though, seemed to cut through the noise when addressed the camera directly. “There’s a reason why he’s bringing up all this malarkey. There’s a reason for it: He doesn’t want to talk about the substantive issues. It’s not about his family and my family, it’s about your family,” Biden said. “If you’re a middle class family you’re getting hurt badly right now… We should be talking about your families, but he doesn’t want to talk about that.” 

“Typical politician!” the president spat back, as if it were a bad thing to care about constituents’ concerns. “I’m not a typical politician,” Trump said. (Fact check: true.)

“I see the United States”

During an exchange about why a new Covid-19 relief bill has been stalled in Congress, Donald Trump tried to stick it to House Speaker (and longtime GOP boogeywoman) Nancy Pelosi. Trump claimed that the Democrats’ HEROES Act — passed in May at $3 trillion, and scaled down to $2 trillion and passed again in October — was an egregious bailout for “badly run Democrat states and cities.”

Trump’s outburst against states that do not support him electorally gave Biden an opening, and he seized the moment to tar Trump for governing as a hyperpartisan. “I’m a proud Democrat,” Biden said, “but I’m running to be an American president. I don’t see red states and blue states,” he continued, “I see America. I see the United States.”

For Biden it was a clean hit on Trump — who recently threatened to withhold federal fire disaster aid from California, the state that ensured his loss in the popular vote in 2016. But the phrasing also invoked nostalgia, echoing then-future president Barack Obama’s famous 2004 Democratic convention speech. (“There is not a liberal America and a conservative America — there is the United States of America,” Obama said in the address that launched his career in national politics.)

Biden returned to this theme of national unity in his closing remarks, pledging again to be “an American president. I represent all of you, whether you vote for me or against me.” Pledging to restore hope after four years of Trump, Biden insisted: “What is on the ballot here is the character of this country,” vowing he would lead America in a spirit of “decency, honesty, respect… and making sure everyone gets an even chance.”

“They terminated it, so we don’t have to worry about it anymore, Joe!” 

One of the strongest contrasts of the evening came when Welker asked about the Trump administration’s policy of separating undocumented children from their parents at the Southern border. The administration was forced to retract the policy under heavy criticism, but according to a recent report, more than two years later, 545 of the more than 2,000 children have still not been reunited with their families. That includes about 60 children who were under the age of five when they were forcibly removed from their parents. Welker wanted to know how the president would reunite those families. Trump didn’t answer that question, choosing instead to speak about the “coyotes” and “cartels” and “gangs” that use children to cross into America.

Biden called out that evasion. “These five hundred plus kids came with parents. They separated them at the border to make it a disincentive to come here … Coyotes didn’t bring them over, their parents were with them. They got separated from their parents … And it violates every notion of who we are as a nation.” 

Two-thirds of the parents who are still missing their children are believed to have been deported, while their children remain in U.S. custody; a committee in charge of reunification has said the parents of as many as 470 children may be “unreachable.” “Let’s talk about what we’re talking about,” Biden emphasized Thursday. “Parents, their kids were ripped from their arms and separated. And now they cannot find over five hundred sets of those parents and those kids are alone. Nowhere to go. Nowhere to go. It’s criminal.”

“They terminated it, so we don’t have to worry about it anymore, Joe!” Trump said. 

“ — And you have [545] kids not knowing where they are going to be and lost their parents,” Biden replied. 

“I’m the least racist person in this room, OK”

The Exonerated Five were not a topic of conversation during the 2016 campaign. Hillary Clinton’s campaign never brought up in a meaningful way Donald Trump’s very public and unmistakably racist condemnation of the five innocent teenagers in the 1989 Central Park jogger case. This was curious because Trump, as recently as 2019, refused to apologize for placing an ad that demanded the restoration of the death penalty just weeks after the incident and didn’t accept that they were proven to be innocent of the crime. “You have people on both sides of that,” he said when asked about the case at the White House. “They admitted their guilt.”

The 1989 death penalty ad was Trump clearing his throat for Charlottesville. That we knew who this president was with regards to his attitudes towards black people does not soften the blow when he speaks of us, repeatedly in the most patronizing terms. And with Joe Biden, the regretful author of the infamous 1994 crime bill, he believes that he has a soft target. 

But as Trump berated the former Vice President Thursday night over his record of incarcerating black men, what he conveniently ignored is that his own persecution of those five New York City schoolchildren helped fan the national flames for that crime bill just five short years later. If Trump wants to pin a medal on himself for commuting just 20 sentences — Barack Obama commuted nearly 1,400, more than any other president — we can’t stop him. 

However, it was appropriate that Biden took the president’s patronizing praise for himself and turned it on its head, pointing to him and saying “Abraham Lincoln over here.” It was even more telling that Trump took such offense and clearly didn’t understand that he was being mocked. He doesn’t have enough good sense to recognize that freeing Alice Johnson, Matthew Charles, and a few other black people from prison via the FIRST STEP Act, that flawed and middling piece of civil-rights legislation, doesn’t suddenly transform it into the second coming of the Emancipation Proclamation. But we should.

(And as much as Trump would like to have made the case that he was the true white savior on the stage, the pied piper of white supremacy looked all the more ridiculous when he tried to claim that “I’m the least racist person in this room, OK?” in front of Welker, the first black woman to moderate a presidential debate solo since Carole Simpson in 1992.)

Biden, thankfully, didn’t repeat Clinton’s mistake. In the midst of listing Trump’s own lust for the carceral state, Biden said that “this is a guy, with the Central Park Five, five innocent black kids” — one, Raymond Santana, is Latino — ”he continued to push for making sure they got the death penalty. None of them, none of them, were guilty of the crimes that were suggested.” Trump didn’t respond. He had nothing to say.


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PROMISES, PROMISES: It Depends On The Definition…

by Mark Scaramella

Remember this door hangar which was distributed all over Mendocino County back in 2017?

It was in part based on the text of Measure B, Section 5.180.040 Paragraph C: “Conduct an independent annual audit and develop a performance management strategy which measures the effectiveness of the improved services, treatment and facilities and assesses the impact of the Mental Health Treatment Act.”

Paragraph D added that the Citizens Oversight Committee “shall review the independent annual audit of expenditures and the performance management plan for compliance with the Specific Purpose of this ordinance.”

Just to make sure voters got the point, in the accompanying “Argument in Favor of Measure B” Measure B supporters Tom Allman, John McCowen, Dr. Debbie Marks, Ross Liberty, and Carlos Jacinto vowed: “VOTE YES ON MEASURE B to require independent annual audits that must be reviewed by a Citizens’ Oversight Committee.”

Notice the emphatic use of “shall” and “require” and “must.”

But despite all the promises with their stern shalls, requirements and musts, there’s been no mention of any annual audits, reviews, or performance management strategies in the three years since Measure B was enacted by a super-majority of Mendolanders who foolishly assumed that since Measure B included these seemingly ironclad requirements, we’d see dramatic and visible improvements in services for Mendo’s many mentally ill and drug addicted residents.

Like most voters, we naively assumed that “annual independent audits” meant “every year,” and “review” meant that these annual audits would be annually reviewed by the Measure B Oversight Committee who would make sure any deficiencies the audit uncovered would be corrected. We also thought that the Oversight Committee would make sure that a performance management strategy was in place in advance so that service improvements could be measured and “managed.” 

For example, the Performance Management Strategy should first establish the “performance” (or lack thereof) of the mental health system prior to enactment of Measure B against which Measure B performance could be measured.

Curious as to where it all stood, a couple of weeks ago, we asked Measure B Project Manager Alyson Bailey about the promised annual audits, the Oversight Committee’s review and the performance management strategy.

“Dear Ms. Bailey,

We noticed that the text of Measure B says that an annual independent audit is called for as is a “performance management strategy”: “Conduct an independent annual audit and develop a performance management strategy which measures the effectiveness of the improved services, treatment and facilities and assesses the impact of the ‘Mental Health Treatment Act’.”

Have any independent audits been done? If so we'd like a copy. If not, what is the plan to do them?

And, what is the ‘performance management strategy’ which was to be developed?”

After a week of careful consideration Ms. Bailey replied:

“These audits determine key performance indicators and quality assurance and happen regularly after business has started. [Our emphasis] There are assessments and data that we've gathered in order to develop a business case for a new project, but the audits will not take place until a business or service is working with the community for at least six months or more in order to have enough data points to create something that can be audited. Our KPIs are: Retention, Use, Quality/Satisfaction, Outreach, Sustainability, Fiscal, and Risk. I am not sure if the audits will be managed by an existing auditing body, or if there will be a consultant instead of a group who performs them, but it is highlighted as a specific goal and it will be ready to implement before audits become possible. 

We'll be working on benchmarks for 2021 in late fall/early winter and performance management will be on that list. 

Thank you for reaching out and asking questions.”

Silly us. Three years in and because nothing much has happened in those three years mainly thanks to the Oversight Committtee itself — i.e., business has not started — there’s nothing to audit — according to Ms. Bailey. Nevermind that they’ve bought a training facility that nobody wants and they’ve paid for administration and consulting that has not been audited.

As long as they can postpone when “business has started” they can conveniently ignored annual audits or “performance management strategies.”

Measure B also was supposed to “Provide for assistance in the diagnosis, treatment and recovery from mental illness *and addiction*…” [our emphasis]

And the Impartial Analysis of Measure B in the voter’s pamphlet described Measure B as “An Ordinance to Add the ‘Mental Health Treatment Act’ to the Mendocino County Code Adopting a Sales Tax for the Specific Purpose of Funding Services, Treatment and Facilities for Persons with Mental Illness *or Drug Addiction*.” [Our emphasis]

That’s right, Measure B was sold as a way to fund services, treatment and facilities not only for mental health but for drug addiction.

But so far, in three years of meetings and planning and staffing and consultants and the rest, not one mention of anything remotely close to drug addiction services, treatment or facilities.

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LIEUTENANT JOSEPH “JD” COMER is a 31-year resident of Mendocino County and has lived on Mendocino South & North Coast during that time.

Lieutenant Comer has been employed with the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office for almost 19-years where the entirety of his career has been serving the Coastal communities as a Deputy Sheriff, Sheriff’s Detective and Sheriff’s Sergeant.

He has served within the organization as a Use of Force/Firearms Instructor, Field Training Officer and Supervisor.

Lieutenant Comer currently serves on the Mendocino County Multi-Agency SWAT team and is the Northern California Regional Representative for the California Association of Tactical Officers.

Lieutenant Comer was promoted on October 18th, 2020 and he is currently assigned as the Coast Sector Commander where he oversees the Patrol Division operations of the coastal region in Mendocino County.

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I heard the story of the P-39 crash (has to be the same incident – how many planes crash here?) around 1960, soon after we Newmans moved to Anderson Valley. Apparently several people heard the engine sputter and saw the pilot bail out. By the time he reached the ground, a welcoming party of three or four locals had gathered nearby to greet him.

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Albion, 1960s

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Someone stole my political sign last night!

Just wanted to let you know someone stole our Biden/Harris sign last night. They even took the poles that held it up!

I filed a police report and the responder said there's been a lot of this going on from both sides.

Makes you wonder what's happening in the USA when we get this type of stuff in our community. Apparently, I live in a bubble because I believe everyone has the right to vote/advertise for anyone they want.

Stay safe,

Joanne Frazer

Fort Bragg

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"Launching took place last week of the huge submarine being used in Norman Jewison’s 'The Russians Are Coming The Russians Are Coming.' The sub, moved and assembled under the direction of special effects man Danny Hays, was brought to this area in eight trucks and semitrailers. It weighs 40 tons, is 140 feet long, 20 feet wide and 22 feet high. It took two weeks and 2000-man hours assembling it and bottoming it with four and a half tons of steel, besides stuffing it with 17 tons of styrofoam." (Fort Bragg Advocate, 55 Years Ago, Oct. 21, 1965)

"Although the film has a strong sense of place, it was shot, not on a Nantucket-y island off the Massachusetts coast, but in Fort Bragg, California. Production designer Robert Boyle was tasked with making the California beach town stand in for a chilly New England island. He put up false fronts on the houses, scattered lobster traps and changed license plates. The biggest problem was the submarine. Jewison wrote “Today, of course, you can probably buy an old Soviet sub on the internet” but when they asked the U.S. Navy for the loan of one of theirs, the Navy refused. They said an enemy sub could never run aground without them knowing about it, even though one had recently sailed right into San Francisco Bay seeking aid for a crewman with appendicitis. The Canadian Navy had a World War II German sub to lend, but the Navy wouldn’t allow it within 12 miles of the coast. A 180 foot plywood and foam replica was created by Boyle, with a conning tower rented from 20th Century Fox. So many locals were extras that Jewison invited the whole town to watch the dailies in the local movie house, which they did, with great enthusiasm." (

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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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SERGEANT CLINT WYANT was born and raised in Mendocino County.

Sergeant Wyant’s youth was spent in Anderson Valley until his family moved to Ukiah when he was in the 5th grade. 

He graduated Ukiah High School in 1996 then attended Mendocino College, studying criminal justice.

Sergeant Wyant applied with the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office and was hired in 1999. He has been with the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office now for over 21 years. 

Sergeant Wyant began his career assigned to the Corrections Division, later promoting to Corporal. 

The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office sponsored Sergeant Wyant by sending him to the College of the Redwoods Police Academy, where he graduated in 2006 and became a Deputy Sheriff-Coroner. 

Sergeant Wyant worked in the North and Coastal sectors from 2006-2015. 

During this time he was a field training officer and is a senior member of the SWAT Team, where he serves the roll of team leader. 

Sergeant Wyant was assigned to the Sheriff's Office Detective Bureau in 2015 where he has investigated a variety of crimes, ranging from child abuse, sexual assault, robbery and homicide.

He applied for a Patrol Division Sergeant position and was promoted to an acting Sergeant position in February 2020, ultimately being promoted to this full-time position on October 4th, 2020. 

Sergeant Wyant is currently assigned to the Investigative Services Bureau.

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IF RBG had retired when Obama was president, as she should have done given her age and condition, ACB would not soon be a Supreme Court Justice. All the weeping and gnashing of teeth re ACB is Ginsburg's fault, which the forces of darkness merely took advantage of. If the Republicans Lite take power they should indeed pack the Supreme Court, but they won't, and the bad people will continue to kick sand in their faces. 

ENJOYED a visit from Sheriff Kendall yesterday (Tuesday). As any media slime will confirm, cops, if you can get them talking, have the best stories. Next best? Emergency room doctors. Sheriff Kendall, being a Mendo native whose roots go all the way back to when Boonville was called Kendall City, knows people in every area of Mendo's vastness, not only from being a home boy but from his days as a line deputy. Mention a name and the Sheriff is apt to rattle off the whole family tree complete with anecdotes about its various members. The only real question I had for him was, “Any militia groups in Mendo?” The Sheriff said that some proud boy types exiting prison where they've ganged up along ethnic lines simply as a survival strategy might briefly hook up with one or two other like-minded prison grads out here in the free world, but the distractions of liberation soon divert their attentions from disciplined ethnic nationalism. He said the dope business is highly organized these days, and that there are a million marijuana plants growing on the valley floor of the Covelo area alone. “It's true that a lot of outlaw growers have moved their operations from Southern Humboldt to Northeast Mendocino County,” added Kendall, remarking that both Humboldt's enforcement and licensing practices are much more effective than Mendo's. Sheriff Kendall has appealed to the Supervisors for more help in beating back outta control pot ops but, and this is the ava's opinion here, the Supes have responded by expanding the areas where marijuana can be legally grown. (!)

I'D PLANNED to get my flu shot yesterday, but the vehicle line to reach the high school's drive-thru vaccination center was clear out to 128. Soooooooo, not wanting to globe-warm by idling for however long it took to get punctured, I gave up and returned to News Central.

NOTED THE FOLLOWING COMMENT FROM DeeLynn Carpenter: "I remember 30 years ago where I, as City Clerk with the City of Fort Bragg, issued 100+ press passes in a 48 hour period for the Redwood Summer demonstrations in July 1990. I was in awe of how civil the press members were in submitting their qualifications and waiting in line for the passes. I am equally proud that we were able to offer a press room where both sides of the issue could have information tables so it was a one stop for the press before they attended the two separate rallies on different sites in the community."

AND I REMEMBER how surprised I was at not only DeeLynn's efficient graciousness, but at how well she had everything organized at City Hall. That was quite a weekend, largest demo of any kind in county history. I still have the credential she gave me, and if I do say so myself the mighty ava's coverage beat hell outta everyone else's.

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It’s only fair that in The Greatest Nation on Earth that is being kept alive by fake money conjuring and ongoing institutionalized corruption that we should have our political parties joining along in all the fun.

The Greatest Nation on Earth teaches its young that it is the best and greatest of all things. Well, as is abundantly clear to anyone who actually cares to look, ineptitude and corruption is on that list as well. Serving as a Great City on the Hill and Shining Example to the World of how being privileged with a great land mass and great natural resources and people who built great factories and railroads from empty prairie lands and sand dunes along lakes is no guarantee of survival or prosperity when internal rot fully takes over. We shouldn’t have worried so much about those nasty Sputnik launchers. We should have been paying much greater attention to the decay from within. A decay of institutions in many forms and in personal conduct and character.

We may not be the Titanic but we might be like the poor souls who realize that the plane they’re on is going down, the pilot can’t gain back control and likely doesn’t know what he’s doing anyway, and the solid nasty ground is getting ever closer in our uncontrolled descent.

The Bidens are a mess. They – and many others – are poster children for our times and our era.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, October 22, 2020

Gowan, Hanover, Kingston, Taylor

JAMES GOWAN JR., Redwood Valley. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, disobeying court order.

THOMAS HANOVER JR., Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation revocation. (Frequent Flyer)

CHRISTINA KINGSTON, Emeryville/Ukiah. Stolen vehicle, controlled substance.

ANN TAYLOR, Ukiah. Failure to appear.

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NO ON 15 & 19


Undermining Prop 13

Like Proposition 15, Proposition 19 is a run on Proposition 13.

They start by coming for the other fella, but once they pierce the armor they will raise your property taxes, too. Homeowner portability is good, more money for fire protection is good, more money for schools is good, but it shouldn’t be paid for by undoing constitutionally protected Proposition 13 support measures Proposition 58 and Proposition 193. 

As a tax practitioner, I have used Propositions 58 and 193 to help keep family farms, ranches and small businesses in California. Believe me, Proposition 19 will take these incentives away for 99% of the families who want to stay in business. It is already hard enough for these family operations to stay in California — we don’t need to drive in another coffin nail. Please vote no on Proposition 19. 

Ted Stephens


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Willits Vintage

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by Paul Modic

I had two main problems in life: I was fifty pounds overweight and my next-door neighbor beat me at Scrabble every time. Actually over the years I did beat her once, by one, and we tied once. (I would walk home from her house just before ten every night so I could listen to Doctor Laura on KFI thinking, “This is my life. This is the fun in my life: Playing Scrabble with Yerba.”)

On a flight back from Indiana, where I'd been hanging out with my depressed father who was recovering from one of those major surgeries you tend to get near the end of your life instead of being floated off on a patch of ice like a good Eskimo, I studied the Official Scrabble Dictionary culling all the weirdest and highest-scoring words I could find on the four hour ride in the sky. (I found about 538, or maybe that was the mileage from Austin, Texas to Real de Catorce, Mexico, or both.)

Visiting my father was a stressful experience. Once after he had said one more disparaging thing to me I replied, “You don't really like me, do you?”

He thought for a moment and said, “No.”

“Well, I don't really like you,” I said. “You're not the kind of person I would choose to hang out with but I love you and I'm here for you now.” A moment of truth.

Another time as we sat down for the dinner I made every night, which he continually raved about but the swells on Quarantine Kitchen would scoff at, I began berating him. “Why are you so depressed?” I said. “Just stop being depressed!” He got this fearful look in his eyes like a cornered rat, picked up his full plate of food, and smashed it down on the table, glass and flounder flying.

I made an appointment with my nutritionist neighbor who helped me organize a healthy diet program. She taught me a serving of chicken was three ounces, to switch to non-fat milk, and to not eat extra servings. (Even that seemingly innocent apple juice had almost as much sugar as Pepsi.)

Whenever I smoked weed I got the munchies, usually eating about three bowls of crunchy dry cereal an hour or so after smoking or delicious pancakes at midnight with walnuts and sliced bananas, then covered with butter and a lot of hot maple syrup, often with bacon or sausage, eggs, and yogurt on the side. No wonder I was 270 and heading for 300.

I stopped smoking pot, adjusted my diet and started walking, first two miles up to the mail boxes and back, and then a three mile round trip to the school where I played sports with the kids and picked up the daily SF Chronicle from the communal mailbox. (One day I carried my set of golf clubs up the hill on that trek.)

Then I started walking two and a half miles up hill from my place at the bottom of the Yellow Dirt Road to the top of Whale Gulch, where you could see the lights of Fort Bragg at night. (Sometimes I'd walk the Lost Coast Trail over Chamise mountain and that would be a five hour extravaganza.)

I took along a dust mask and when I heard a car coming I'd dash up into the hills a ways to await the inevitable cloud of dust to settle along the road. Sometimes there were just steep cliffs with no way to run so I stood gamely on the side of the road hoping the car would slow down and not dust me out too badly.

A neighbor who lived along the road, a sexy jogger, noticed that I walked it every day so when she went to Mexico for a vacation she asked me if I would feed her cat as I went by. I went daily into the utility room under her house where I scooped out the cat food. I noticed her joggin' bra on top of the laundry basket and enjoyed visiting that every day. (I should have stolen it as a fragrant souvenir so I guess I had some ethics.)

I lost a lot of weight walking and decided to start running. I transcribed those 538 odd Scrabble words into a reporter's notebook. On each page I wrote twenty-six obscure words from A to Z, from aalii (a vowel dump) to zebu. Each day on that flat run over dirt road and path from The Meadow to the Monastery I memorized those twenty-six words, glancing repeatedly at the page until by the end of each forty-five minute workout I could recite them without looking.

After a few weeks of that I began to beat Yerba about half the time. (It annoyed and perplexed my father, a college English professor, that I would spend so much time learning archaic words that would never be used outside of a Scrabble game.) I did take the exercise thing a little too obsessively and got down to a skeletal 190 when my goal had been about 205.

The next year I moved to town, started smoking weed again, ate a Hagen-daz every night, and put most of the weight back on. The next year I took it all back off and it's still mostly off twenty years later, a success story no doubt.

* * *

* * *



Armoring for wildfires—

Apocalyptic fires in California make fall a dangerous time.

Climate change has brought droughts, Diablo winds, high temperatures and fierce firestorms, obliterating whole communities.

In the distant past California lived through multiple centuries of drought. Those times were cold and dry; now those droughts will be hot and dry.

As an architect, I rejoiced in the beauty of redwood, fir and cedar in designing beautiful homes on the coast and in the wine valleys of Sonoma and Napa. Now I see them as future bonfires. If we are to stay in this wine region we need to rethink how we build structures in fire zones. Last year, the head of Cal Fire said the answer is to build fireproof homes. Few followed his lead. It is astounding that we are replacing houses with the same materials that previously burned. 

Fortunately, there are ways to build walls and roofs that are four-hour fire resistant and have high insulation value. New materials and techniques can achieve fireproof homes, and these materials are ideal for dramatically reducing costs for heating and cooling — and for similar building costs to traditional wood frame. 

Allan Nichol


* * *

* * *

THE JAPANESE have been producing wood for 700 years without cutting down trees. In the 14th century, the extraordinary daisugi technique was born in Japan. Indeed, the daisugi provide that these trees will be planted for future generations and not be cut down but pruned as if they were giant bonsai trees; by applying this technique to cedars, the wood that can be obtained is uniform, straight and without knots, practically perfect for construction. 

A pruning as a rule of art that allows the tree to grow and germinate while using its wood, without ever cutting it down. 

Extraordinary technique. 

— Mary Conceicao Coelho

* * *


To the Editor of The Press Democrat,

To Ms.Wyatt (PD, Close to Home, October 18, 2020) 

May I suggest you run, don't walk to the closest local independent USDA Crop Insurance Agent. Your grape loss this year is what crop insurance is for. I could not have survived the last 50 grape harvests without USDA crop insurance.

Bob Dempel

Santa Rosa-Hopland

* * *

(1968) “The classic account of the 1960s counterculture in San Francisco. A rare example of journalism that approaches art in one direction and the best of social science in another.” (Newsweek)

* * *


Letter to the editor:

Let's wrestle! Someone may get hurt debating!

Boy oh boy, haven't we all been waiting for the second presidential debate? I can hardly wait. Then again perhaps we could get lucky and have a power outage prior to the start. Total silence in the dark! That would have value: Rest! It can't get any better.

Here we have two candidates, bozos and buffoons, yelling at each other, no restraints, with stuff like “You clown,” “Shut up,” back and forth. Just brilliant. Wait, one minute. Just think, one of these loquacious silverbacks will be one day be your president. Eureka! I'm dying -- how lucky can an old man get. Here here!

In all of this interesting pandemonium the vast majority of retards and retardetttes just love it. Those watching could care less about substance or redeeming value. None of which are touched on. But how much ranting and raving and loud lambasting of the other side can we stand? We are paying for this, millions and millions of dollars. You would be better served watching lady mud wrestling. Hey! I like wrestling.

After the debate for those of you who were really informed and found that both candidates were respectful and presented themselves in a statesmanlike manner along with a future agenda that can be held in high esteem, call me collect! (The phone with silent.)

Gran says, Some of our kinfolk are coming over for supper tonight. Gramps had that old hog in the ground for two days now. Lordy, he set that old outhouse afire. Oh hell, that should give the old hog good rich smoky flavor. Yum! Gramps still has that damn swamp ass. I told him I better not see him eating any of that hog fat. I ain't washing or scrubbing any more of those undershorts. You can just go commando.

Love you gran. Cookies?

God bless America, the Donald, Jerry Philbrick and that old hog.

Still old and still angry,


* * *

“READING IS AN ACT OF CIVILIZATION; it’s one of the greatest acts of civilization because it takes the free raw material of the mind and builds castles of possibilities.”

— Ben Okri

Tavik Frantisek Simon - Vilma Reading on a Sofa, 1912.

* * *


by Joan Didion

From the 1870s to the 1920s according to Richard W. Fox's 1978 study ‘So Far Disordered In Mind: Insanity in California, 1870-1930,’ California had a higher rate of commitment for insanity than any other state in the nation, a disproportion most reasonably explained, Fox suggests, “by the zeal with which California state officials sought to locate, detained and treat not only those considered “mentally ill,” but also a wide variety of other deviants -- including, as State Hospital physicians put it, “imbeciles, dotards, idiots, drunkards, simpletons, fools” and “the aged, the vagabond, the helpless.” 

Not only did California have this notably higher rate of commitment, but the institutions to which it committed citizens differed fundamentally from those in the east where the idea of how to deal with insanity had been from the beginning medicalized, based on regimes -- however more honored in the breach -- of treatment and therapy. The idea of how to deal with insanity in California began and ended with detention.

So broad where the standards for commitment and so general was the inclination to let the state take care of what might in another culture have been construed as a family burden, that even many doctors who ran the system were uneasy. As early as 1862, according to “So Far Disordered in Mind,” a resident physician at the Stockton State Asylum for the Insane complained of receiving patients “who, if affected in their minds at all, it is the weakness of old age, or in temperance, or perhaps most commonly both together.” In 1870, the Federal Census classified one in every 489 Californians as insane. By 1880 the rate had risen to one in 345. After 1903 when the state had reached one in 260 and the asylums had passed capacity, the notion of sterilizing inmates gained currency, the idea being that a certain number could then be released without danger of reproducing. Sterilization, or “asexualization,” of inmates which was legalized in some other states as early as 1907 was made legal in California in 1909. By 1917 the right of the state to sterilize had been extended twice, first to cases in which the patient did not agree to the procedure, then to cases in which the patient had not even been necessarily diagnosed with a hereditary or incurable disorder, but only with “perversion or margin departures from normal mentality.” 

By the end of 1920, of the 3,233 sterilizations for insanity or feeblemindedness performed to that date throughout the United States, 2,558, or 79%, had taken place in California.

What was arresting in this pattern of commitment was the extent to which it diverged from the California sense of itself as loose, less socially rigid than the rest of the country, more adaptable, more tolerant of difference. When Fox analyzed the San Francisco commitment records for the years 1906-1929 he found that the majority of those hospitalized, 59%, had been committed not because they were violent, not because they presented a threat to others or to themselves, but simply because they had been reported sometimes by a police officer but often by a neighbor or relative to exhibit “odd or peculiar behavior.” In 1914 for example San Francisco medical examiners granted the wish of a woman to commit her 37-year-old unmarried sister on the grounds that the sister, despite her “quiet and friendly” appearance during detention, had begun “to act silly, lost interest in all things which interest women, could no longer crochet correctly as formerly, takes no interest in anything at present.” In 1915 a 40-year-old clerk was committed because “for three weeks he has been annoying the city registrar, calling everyday and insisting that he is a deputy.” In 1922, a 23-year-old divorcée was committed after a neighbor reported that she was “lazy, slovenly, careless of personal affairs, stays away from home for days, neglecting self and consorting with men.” The same year a 48-year-old pianist was committed on the grounds that “she has been irresponsible for years; has been a source of great annoyance to many institutions such as the YWCA Association, churches, etc.”

The apparently pressing need to commit so many and in many cases such marginally troubled Californians to indefinite custodial detention seems not at the time to have struck their fellow citizens as an excessive lust for social control. Nor did these fellow citizens appear to see their readiness to slough off bothersome relatives and neighbors as a possible defect in their own socialization. Madness, it became convenient to believe quite early on, came with the territory on the order of earthquakes. 

The first State Lunatic Asylum in California, at Stockton, was established in 1853 specifically to treat those believed to have been driven mad by the gold fields. According to an 1873 state board of health report this endemic madness had to do with “the speculative and gambling spirit” of the California settlement. It had to do with “heterogeneous elements,” it had to do with “change of climate, habits, and modes of life,” it had to do with being “isolated without sympathy and deprived of all home influences.”

California itself then, according to its own Board of Health, was “well calculated to break some link in reason’s chain and throw into confusion even the best balanced properties of mind.”

* * *

Spring Moon at Ninomiya, 1932, woodblock print by Kawase Hasui (1883-1957)

* * *

TRUMP'S TWITTER HACKED after Dutch researcher claims he guessed password

Victor Gevers claimed he had access to president’s account, De Volkskrant reported, but Twitter said “we’ve seen no evidence”

Donald Trump’s Twitter account was allegedly hacked last week, after a Dutch researcher correctly guessed the president’s password: “maga2020!,” Dutch media reported.

Victor Gevers, a security expert, had access to Trump’s direct messages, could post tweets in his name and change his profile, De Volkskrant newspaper reported.

Gevers — who previously managed to log into Trump’s account in 2016 — apparently gained access by guessing Trump’s password. He tried “maga2020!” on his fifth attempt and it worked.

Full story:

* * *


Life, friends, is boring. We must not say so.   
After all, the sky flashes, the great sea yearns,   
we ourselves flash and yearn,
and moreover my mother told me as a boy   
(repeatingly) ‘Ever to confess you’re bored   
means you have no

Inner Resources.’ I conclude now I have no   
inner resources, because I am heavy bored.
Peoples bore me,
literature bores me, especially great literature,   
Henry bores me, with his plights & gripes   
as bad as achilles,

who loves people and valiant art, which bores me.   
And the tranquil hills, & gin, look like a drag   
and somehow a dog
has taken itself & its tail considerably away
into mountains or sea or sky, leaving            
behind: me, wag.

— John Berryman

* * *



  1. Eric Sunswheat October 23, 2020


    RE: IF RBG had retired when Obama was president, as she should have done given her age and condition, AMG would not soon be a Supreme Court Justice. (ED NOTES)

    -> If RBG had retired in last 2 years of Obama presidency, AMG could have already be a Supreme Court Justice for a number of years (unattributed source).

  2. George Hollister October 23, 2020

    “All the weeping and gnashing of teeth re AMG is Ginsburg’s fault, which the forces of darkness merely took advantage of.”

    The forces of darkness are everywhere, including and more so in the federal government, where they are worse because of the monopoly power they are given. People don’t have a choice. Isn’t it better to make sure people have a choice, and the capability to choose?

    • Douglas Coulter October 23, 2020

      One does not fight darkness
      One lights a lamp

      On the hippie topic.
      How many hippies does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
      Hippies screw in Volkswagons

  3. Douglas Coulter October 23, 2020

    Found object?
    AVA posts a Dick pic!

    • chuck dunbar October 23, 2020

      Ha, good one, Douglas!

  4. Stanley Kelley October 23, 2020

    Efficient use of one old photo to represent two towns. If ya can’t trust the AVA, who can ya trust?

    • AVA News Service Post author | October 23, 2020

      Good eye, Stanley! (We also spotted that error this morning.)

  5. Joe October 23, 2020

    Ridin with Biden;

    “In a day when half the US population remained transfixed by the ongoing revelations about the contents of Hunter Biden’s “laptop from hell” and the other half was doing everything in its power to ignore the news which the socials have conveniently been desperate to censor, a far less noticed but perhaps just as important investigative report authored by the unknown Typhoon Investigations, was released by Christopher Balding, Associate Professor at Peking University HSBC School of Business Shenzhen, China and also Bloomberg contributor (which is odd considering the clear anti-Trump bias of the Bloomberg media empire) exposing Biden activities in China which “the press has simply refused to cover”, and which reveals “how Biden was compromised by the Communist Party of China.”

    • chuck dunbar October 23, 2020

      Aw heck, Joe’s back– warning us of the urgent and great perils we face. Maybe just one a day, as a reader suggested yesterday, that would be kind of tolerable…..

      • Marmon October 23, 2020

        “Think for yourself and let others enjoy the privilege of doing so too.”

        ― Voltaire, Traité sur la tolérance, à l’occasion de la mort de Jean Calas

        • Bruce McEwen October 23, 2020

          Good point, James.

          I’ll concede more, in fact.

          Joe Biden ain’t gonna inherit a mess, like all his supporters think. He lost that debate so bad last night he’ll never recover. And for CNN to call a thrashing like that (a one-legged man at an ass-kicking contest, my Uncle Dell would call it) “a draw,” just shows how lost in denial the MSM is now — worse than they were in 2016.

          I hate to admit it, but I’m afraid (and I don’t mean that facetiously) you’ve been right on target about this election all along.

          As Uncle Dell used to say, “Good-bye America!”

          You and Joe, you guys got the guns, and it’ll be over for the likes of me and my kind… broken on a wheel like Le Chevalier Le Barre, sniff-sniff.

          • Marmon October 23, 2020

            When push comes to shove.


  6. Harvey Reading October 23, 2020

    ” In 1870, the Federal Census classified one in every 489 Californians as insane.”

    Now it’s probably 1 in 2.

  7. Lazarus October 23, 2020


    While it Burned…

    Be Well,

  8. Lazarus October 23, 2020


    I don’t know what you expected Mr. AVA. You get eleven people, two-thirds have no qualifications at all. And the others have or had personal agendas concerning how to spend the money.

    Then they bring in a clearly unqualified PM to run interference.

    Then after years of flailing around, they come up with a weird plan to spend the money, and the BOS correctly sends them back to the bench.

    Disband the committee, thank them for their service and let the BOS and “The Boss” run out the clock…Oh, and sell that stupid Training Center.
    As always,

  9. Harvey Reading October 23, 2020

    NO ON 15 & 19

    The portion of Prop 13 that really needs changing (repealing) is the section that allows minority rule for tax inreases. Thanks to the late-70s proposition, a minority of one-third can block any tax increases. The wealthy love that part.

  10. Kirk Vodopals October 23, 2020

    RE: Albion River pic from the 1960s. Note how much the river has changed, particularly the banks.

  11. George Hollister October 23, 2020

    I had never heard of the daisugi technique for growing timber. Interesting. We do the same with redwoods, if you think about it. We can do the pruning to create a clear bole, too. And the root system we use to growth redwoods is much older than trees being managed using the daisugi technique in Japan.

    • Douglas Coulter October 24, 2020

      I have a wonderful book on Bonsai that needs a home. I had planned on trying it during my long rehab from having my leg cut in half and cadaver bone added.
      6 months in a wheelchair and total malpractice by the VA left me little time to prune bushes.
      I am a Bonsai plant, pruned harshly by god in shallow soil.

  12. Craig Stehr October 23, 2020

    Sitting outside on the porch right now, sipping coffee and waiting for the water to boil for another Magic Ranch pot of soup being made. Walked around the house and picked up the recyclables earlier. Prayed a lot while still in the bed, continued it in the shower, and up until the coffee was poured into my Chrome brand cup. Prayer keeps the mind centered at its Source! This is necessary in order to be detached in the midst of the extremely aggravating stupidity of the present nervous breakdown, better know as the American presidential election. I am in favor of padlocking the White House front doors, and leaving the position open. And also, three cheers for the antinuclear vigil ongoing in Lafayette Park in Washington, D.C. since 1982. Meanwhile, am running low on money, and have spent all of the Hawaiian food stamps here in Mendocino county. If you seriously wish to be united with God, work to destroy the demonic, and go back to Godhead, feel free to team up with me at: I have nothing to do of any great importance at this time, and am available for frontline peace and justice/radical environmental organizing, activism, writing about it, and anything else that is Divinely prompted. Obviously I am accepting money to do the necessary work on the earth plane: P.S. I understand that there are lost souls who are against my publicly making it clear that I am of course accepting money. (I played Lotto and won $4.) Dualistically speaking, I don`t care what anybody else thinks at all. I am doing on the planet earth what is obviously necessary in these confused, increasingly dangerous, nuclear war oriented crazy times. Okay? Let me know when you would actually like to do something crucial. I am just biding my time in Redwood Valley, enjoying the exceptionally fine weather. Thank you for all of your appreciations. Sincerely, Craig Louis Stehr

  13. Brian Wood October 23, 2020

    ” Prayer keeps the mind centered at its Source! ”

    That’s really dumb. Everybody knows playing fiddle tunes does that.

    • Douglas Coulter October 24, 2020

      And perfect pitch?
      When you throw an accordion into the dumpster and it lands on bagpipes

  14. Douglas Coulter October 23, 2020

    October 23 1983
    Against forgetting
    Today I built another parade style float to remind people about Beirut. Not a terrorist attack but a well planned attack on an poorly defended valid military target. America is the only nation that pretends Beirut was a peace mission.
    After Israel left Marines were ordered to protect Lebanese Army, the lost neutrality status and became combatants according to UN Rules. YET they remained under ROE of zero loaded weapons and no barricades.
    Ronald Reagan and General Kelly conspired to use a body count in order to manufacture a war. This receipt had worked so many times in the past, BUT
    America got their ass kicked in Vietnam too recently.
    We had zero reason to be there and zero mission statement.
    Too many zeros!
    I committed mutiny the next morning, all my squad had promised to do the same.
    I stood alone.
    Today I stood alone with my Beirut rolling banner/float
    Nobody even remembers.
    Tomorrow I return with the Ukiah rolling Beirut memorial
    Reagan murdered 435 Americans.
    I will be at Farmers Market in AM
    North State St near 101 in afternoon

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