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Mendocino County Today: November 8, 2020

Cool Breeze; 12 New Cases; Pet Marley; Redwood Matrons; Recreation Ideas; Tip Top; Ukiah Mural; Documenting Impossibility; Locomotives; Pond Visit; Stairway; Maddox Plea; Lighthouse Bluff; Ed Notes; Horrific Corners; Yesterday's Catch; Come Together; Ox Team; Health v Profit; Big Log; Never Joe; Neener Neener; Conspiracy Thinking; Journalism; Marco Radio

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COOL AND BREEZY weather with a mix of sun and a few clouds are expected to continue today across Northwest California. Monday morning will feature some of the coldest temperatures of the season thus far. Another shot for widespread rain will come late in the upcoming work week. (NWS)

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TWELVE NEW COVID CASES reported in Mendocino County on Saturday, bringing the total to 1228.

Random Covid stats:

  • Percentage of total population with covid: US: 3%; California: 2.4%; Mendo: 1.4%
  • Percentage of total population dying from covid: US: 0.07%. California: .045% Mendo: 0.02%.
  • Percentage of covid cases dying from covid: US: 2.3% California: 1.85% Mendo: 1.7%

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Marley is looking for a grand adventure! True to his Husky breed, this guy loves to explore. He spends his walks sniffing every blade of grass and tree available and would be a great hiking companion. Marley is going to need lots of exercise and activity in his life, so a family that loves to be on the go would be best. He enjoys attention and welcomes pets, though he appreciates someone introducing themselves first. Marley was a bit shy meeting new canine friends but did seem eager to play once they had spent a few minutes together. Marley would benefit from some basic training to help his already great personality shine even brighter. Marley is a very handsome 3 years old, weighing in at 50 pounds. 

There's more about Marley on his webpage at 

While you’re there, you can read about our services, programs, events, and updates regarding covid-19 and the shelters in Ukiah and Ft. Bragg. Visit us on Facebook at: 

For information about adoptions please call 707-467-6453. 

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HELP THE CSD REC COMMITTEE improve local recreational opportunities

On Tuesday, November 17th at 4pm, there will be a Zoom meeting of the AVCSD Recreation Committee. Public input is being sought for ideas about how to spend a grant that has been awarded by the California Parks Department. The grant is from the Per Capita Program of the Parks and Water Bond Act(Prop 68), which was passed in June, 2018.

This program grants $74M statewide and $177,952 for the AVCSD and each of seven other agencies in Mendocino County. Ideas that are submitted will be ranked by criteria that includes, number of people served, cost, feasibility and sustainability. More information at Zoom ID for the meeting is 245 263 9282.

For more information call the CSD Office at 895-3075.

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Mendocino County’s largest mural is in progress on the north wall of the Ukiah Valley Conference Center in downtown Ukiah, California. After pausing for the winter and pandemic Shelter In Place orders this spring, painting commenced in June and is slated to be complete in 2021.

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by Mark Scaramella

At last week’s Supervisors meeting, Supervisor Ted Williams updated his colleagues on the status of his Cannabis Ad Hoc group’s weighty deliberations:

Williams: “Supervisor Haschak and I are on the cannabis ad hoc committee. I would like to tell you it's going well and we are making progress. But the progress we are making is documenting impossibility. I think there is more urgency for the next step. We are still trying to work with the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) to find a solution. One has not been found yet. I think there is a very small chance that we are going to find a way to get state licenses awarded and Phase 3 may be a shorter path.”

Supervisor Haschak replied:

“With the cannabis — I still — Well, Supervisor Williams and I and County staff have a meeting with the people at the California Department of Food and Agriculture on Thursday and we are also bringing in the Office of Research and Planning, or Planning and Research, which is the clearinghouse for the CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act). Hopefully they can bring in a new outlook or point of view on this and help us. Because it seems like we've been kind of at loggerheads for a few meetings. Hopefully we will be able to look at this with some new perspectives because, like Supervisor Williams says, we are not making the progress we were hoping for.”

And that was it for the cannabis committee status report.

Supervisor Williams also commented on Measure B, the 2017 measure that imposed a half-cent sales tax for Mental Health and Drug Addiction Facilities and Services.

Williams: “On Measure B, we are coming up on three years. We don't have a credible plan at this point. We don't have cost estimates. We are working almost every day on trying to get clarity and it's just troubling. We are about where we should have been three years ago. I think we need to step back and instead of just looking at the small details, look at the big picture — just organizationally. This model isn't working.”

Williams continued, “I think the crux is we are overwhelmed by detail to the point that the detail has obscured the overall situation. The overall situation is the voters passed Measure B three years ago. We didn't have a financial plan at the time it was put before voters. Three years later we don't have a financial plan. We don't have a strategic plan. We don't really know what we're doing. The arrangement of the 11 member oversight committee and the Board of Supervisors is not working. If we can get into detail here I have a list of questions. It's really nobody's fault except the overall arrangement isn't working. It needs a rework. We need to rethink how we are doing business here. People expect the promises made by Measure B will be fulfilled. I don't see us moving in that direction anywhere near quick enough.”

LAME DUCK Supervisor John McCowen agreed, saying he thought the primary goal of Measure B was the Psychiatric Health Facility (PHF, or “puff”). McCowen also noted how the County has been hoodwinked into spending $5 million on a Crisis Residential Treatment facility, which is a lower priority than a PHF because, as McCowen noted, “we have the lure of this $500,000 grant from the state.”

In their typically wasteful manner, nobody anywhere in Official Mendo — Supervisors, Measure B people or staff — have ever questioned how much it will cost to run the CRT nor did they wonder if it was a good idea to proceed with the gold-plated $5 million project when they accepted the $500k from the state, which had imposed an artificial deadline if Mendo took the money. As a result they’re now committed to the CRT construction and operation before even addressing what they all now say is the top priority: the PHF.

To make matters worse, Mendo’s Mental Health Director, Dr. Jenine Miller, says that the PHF has to be a large new facility with 16 beds because 16 beds “is more cost efficient.” Never mind that nobody has any idea what it will cost, whether it can be staffed, and who will be “served” in it. 

For now, Dr. Miller says the PHF can be operated without a subsidy like other private facilities around the state because the PHF will only accept paying customers — i.e., the same “severely mentally ill” people now sent out of county. Which means there will be no — zero — new services for anybody, a complete abandonment of the intent of the voters who expected not just that a PHF would be built, but that there would be at least some attempt to address the free range drunks, druggies and crazy people now appearing on a daily basis in the Booking log.

If Mendo continues with the overpriced CRT as they seem poised to do, and then, out of frustration for having made no progress on anything else, decides to rush into building a big new PHF at whatever gold-plated price the Sacto architects “estimate,” there will be next to nothing left for improved services or other less costly facilities like supportive housing or long-term assistance.

Measure B Project Manager Alyson Bailey confirmed that this is the direction she prefers when she told the Board, “We have Nacht & Lewis [the costly Sacto architects working on the overpriced CRT], we could just give them a budget and tell them we have $12 million to spend and that includes contingency, can you come up with a plan to do that for us?”

Ms. Bailey offered nothing to justify the $12 million she just plucked outta the air. And none of them ever mentioned that in fact the most cost-effective way to get a PHF going is to have the Adventists proceed with their earlier informal offer to convert their old emergency room into a PHF for minor remodeling costs.

Supervisor Haschak arbitrarily jacked the cost of a new PHF up even further: “I think having the strategic plan but also having the finances and backing up that strategic plan and having that laid out so that if we know that the PHF is going to cost $16 million and we have that information and we can rely on that information. If we think that the training center is going to cost $500,000 we need to know what those numbers are, but so far the budgetary presentation is not acceptable.”

But, of course, it IS acceptable because that’s exactly what they’re doing.

Which Williams confirmed: “We have started on a CRT and now we're saying that the PHF is the number one priority. Or maybe the PHF and the training center. Those two will be an ongoing expense and significant one. Given that we don't know what it will take to operate a PHF, we may have to subsidize that. We don't have a contractor telling us they can operate a PHF at no cost to the county. We could find ourselves in a predicament where we have spent our ongoing revenue on supporting a CRT and we can build a PHF but we cannot operate it. Shouldn't we figure that out first? What does that mean for the priorities? I know there will be resistance to halting the CRT. But by not halting it we are saying the CRT is the number one priority.”

The odds of “halting” the CRT — which is nothing more than a multimillion gift of taxpayer money to Camille Schraeder’s Redwood Quality Management Company — at this stage of the game are zero.

Supervisor McCowen then made a motion “to continue further discussion to the first meeting in December asking that staff bring back additional information relevant to the construction and operation of the psychiatric health facility, crisis residential treatment center and training center and any additional financial information is available related to the operation and construction of the facility.”

This further delay passed unanimously.

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PONDS, an on-line comment:

One day in 2016 the State water board, Fish & Wildlife and CDF (Dept. of Forestry) showed up at my doorstep in lower Salmon Creek. They stated that they had seen my pond in Google Earth and that it was constructed illegally.

I said that is strange, since the State of Calif. built and paid for it using funds from CFIP (Calif. Forest Improvement Program) in the late 1960s.

Of course, they had never heard of that program.

They spent two days looking at the pond and came up with nothing. These guys came all the way from Sacramento for nothing.

One would think that they would have done some research, which would have saved them a trip.

Or, they could have called me first and I would have sent them the paperwork.

Just as they were leaving, they saw a fish jump. They asked what type of fish were in there.

I told them Large Mouth Black Bass, Blue Gills and a few Channel Cats. They stated that the fish were illegal. I said that is strange, as the State planted them. They were crushed when I showed them the paperwork.

It is lucky that we still had all the paperwork. My Father told us when the pond was being built, that sometime in the future the State would probably come after us and he was right.

We also planted over 250,000 trees under CFIP.

By the way, my pond was built to hold 13 acre-feet of water.

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WILLITS – With a jury trial scheduled to get underway Monday, defendant Lillian Ruth Maddock waived her trial rights and plead no contest to robbery in the second degree, a felony. 

On Friday, Maddox also admitted a sentencing enhancement charged by the DA alleging that she used a firearm in the commission of the robbery. If the admitted firearm sentencing enhancement is left in place, the defendant's state prison exposure for the robbery is 12, 13, or 15 years. 

Maddox was charged with the July, 2020 robbery of the Sinclair Gas convenience store in south Willits. 

Captured on the store’s surveillance camera, Maddox entered the store and went into the store’s restroom. When she came out of the restroom, she had a handgun drawn. She pointed the firearm at the clerk and demanded cigarettes. Maddox left after being given a pack of cigarette. The clerk immediately called 911. 

When the defendant was located and arrested, she did not have the firearm in her possession. Willits Police officers backtracked the route she would have taken after leaving the store. They found an unlocked vehicle with an open door parked just south of Sinclair Gas. The defendant's firearm had been stashed inside this car. 

After the change of plea was entered into the record, the defendant’s matter was referred to the Adult Probation Department for a background investigation and sentencing recommendation.

Maddox, who remains in custody, is scheduled to be sentenced 9 a.m. Dec. 18, 2020 at the Ukiah courthouse. Because the defendant used a firearm in the course of the robbery, the law requires that she be sentenced to state prison unless the sentencing judge overrides the DA's charging discretion and the defendant's own admission, and strikes the firearm enhancement "in the interests of justice." 

Willits Police Department was the investigating law enforcement agency. The prosecutor was District Attorney David Eyster.

"My prosecutors and I understand that our neighbors and business friends have no tolerance for and have a right to be protected from robbers -- especially those armed with guns -- who threaten to do grievous harm to hard-working night clerks and other citizens here in Mendocino County," said Eyster.

 "I hope the court also understands this and sends the right message on the 18th that robbers brandishing firearms should not expect nor receive unearned leniency." 

Superior Court Judge Carly Dolan will sentence Maddox. 

(DA Presser)

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Lighthouse Bluffs

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BERNIE NORVELL WRITES: “Fort Bragg Police Dept. Busy!

This is literally everyday. Now add in that 75% of their calls are transient or mental health related . If we reduce their budget there is only one place the cuts will come from, staffing. This does nothing to remedy our problem. The calls for service will not decline, only the number of available officers to respond. Perhaps the county should look at modifying mental health contracts to cover the entire gamut. The COC could look at investing into working with law enforcement by placing social workers in with the departments. LE are not social workers. Continuing the same old same old by throwing more money at it has never worked. Maybe we need more money in law enforcement or mental health. I don’t know. What I do know is, what we are doing isn’t working. Let us not be afraid to admit we chose the wrong path and choose another direction. The first thing we need to do to get ourselves out of a hole is to stop digging.”

AMEN, BRO. Police everywhere occupy much of their duty time dealing with 5150's and a floating population of unreformable petty crooks, alcoholics, drug addicts, and plain old mooches, formerly known as bums back when words still had meaning. Meanwhile this lightly populated county spends an annual $26-plus million on mental health. Of course there's the imploding social order that's untethering the unable, the vulnerable, the un-anchored faster than they can be productively tethered, and who knows where it's all headed but all the signs indicate Not Good. The dependent population is only going to grow, and this is no time to defund the police who have to babysit them. In Mendo, though, we have a situation where the comfortably-paid helping professionals and institutions like Plowshares and Hospitality House — apparatuses nearly as large as the helpees — subsidize and enable the troublesome population the police deal with everyday all day and night.

CLARITY at the Supervisor level might help cut through the romantic bullshit surrounding the "homeless" population, but when the Supervisors paid $50,000 to Marbut to supply it, the helping pros quickly convened a mass whine-in and the Supervisors backed away from his recommendations which, boiled down, were: housing and help for home grown marginals, a meal or two for the professional mooches followed by a boot in the ass down the road if they hang around for seconds.

THE FOLLOWING is based on an oddly zealous presser from the District Attorney, odd because of the apparent lost vulnerability of the perp: “With a jury trial scheduled to get underway Monday, defendant Lillian Ruth Maddock waived her trial rights and plead no contest to robbery in the second degree, a felony.”

LOOK at the booking photo of this woman. I ask you, is it the face of a person who should go to prison for a decade? Appearances can be deceiving, natch, and she did point a gun at a convenience store salesman for a pack of smokes, but the prison recommendation seems way off given the known facts.

Lillian Maddock

“Captured on the store’s surveillance camera, Maddock entered the store and went into the store’s restroom. When she came out of the restroom, she had a handgun drawn. She pointed the firearm at the clerk and demanded cigarettes. Maddock left after being given a pack of cigarettes… When the defendant was located and arrested, she did not have the firearm in her possession. Willits Police officers backtracked the route she would have taken after leaving the store. They found an unlocked vehicle with an open door parked just south of Sinclair Gas. The defendant’s firearm had been stashed inside this car.”

Let me guess. Under the influence of whatever with no plan other than a smoke and off you go for ten years? This is clearly a diminished capacity case. And the required sentence is no excuse for demanding it and, as the cliche has it, there's no justice if sentences are out of all proportion to the offense; disproportion is exactly why there is so much unhappiness with our justice system.

AND THIS RIGHTEOUS huffing and puffing from DA Eyster: “My prosecutors and I understand that our neighbors and business friends have no tolerance for and have a right to be protected from robbers — especially those armed with guns — who threaten to do grievous harm to hard-working night clerks and other citizens here in Mendocino County,” said Eyster. “I hope the court also understands this and sends the right message on the 18th that robbers brandishing firearms should not expect nor receive unearned leniency.”

O HELL YEAH. All the bandits out there are trembling at the warning. They keep a close eye on media alerts.

MS. MADDOCK is still to be evaluated by Probation who, I'll bet, will assess her as I have. And then it will be up to Judge Carly Dolan to either show some common sense mercy or doom her.

ABOUT 8:30 this morning, the usual crypt-like silence of San Anselmo was suddenly a cacophony of cheering, cowbells and even a couple of celebratory firecrackers. “Hell, it must be Free Latte Day downtown,” I thought but, nope, Joe Biden was irrefutably elected President. For now. That crafty old orange man has unleashed flying squads of lawyers on the contested states while he went off for a round of golf rather than sandbag the White House he will probably have to be dragged out of. I don't see much to celebrate. Biden's out of it and, on his record, a Republican himself. But Trump's dangerously stirred up the yobbos who make up a solid half of our fine, fat population, and guns and ammo are flying out of WalMarts as fast as Wally can shelve them. Could be a hard landing in January, or it can all end with a whimper rather than the bang lots of pundits are predicting.

KAMALA HARRIS will be President a year from now if not sooner as Biden's dementia grows step for step with Biden family scandals. One or the other will soon have the old hack outtathere.

THE RIGHTWING is portraying Kamala as “hard left,” which isn't surprising because they also characterize Pelosi and Schumer as “the left” and Bernie and AOC as absolute Bolsheviks. (God save us from the pure hell of single payer!) I'll defer to my colleague Fred Gardner who knows Kamala quite well from the time they worked together in the Frisco DA's office, but it occurred to me, seeing how unprepared she was for the debates, that Kamala, prior to being hurled onto the national stage, hadn't thought much about big picture stuff like present-day social-economic organization of the country. She's a solidly middleclass woman raised in comfortable circumstances by academics. She became a lawyer and a prosecutor — a prosecutor, not a public defender or a poverty lawyer. As a young person and attorney, Kamala wasn't rushing home to read The Nation and Noam Chomsky. As President, she'll be a nicer, smarter version of Hillary, middle of the road all the way, as the Democrats are and will be.

WE'LL PAUSE HERE while I congratulate my fellow Two Percenters for voting Third Party. For me, the last time I voted for a Democrat, was a vote for George McGovern, Republicans always having been unthinkable. And I've been Third Party ever since. Salud, Comrade Two Percenters! They can't blame us for whatever ensues. Our hands are clean!

TALKING HEADS. Are these people tiresome or what? Never even a hint of wit. No irony unless designated. Entirely predictable, often inarticulate, just as often straight-up stupid. And they make their living writing and talking! Used to be.....The old man began to sob..... Used to be..... What's the use of used to be? Anyway, the talking heads, their perfect teeth shining, not a hair out of place, were talking about Biden's "mandate." What mandate? Biden has no mandate to do anything. The only people who voted enthusiastically for him were his immediate family (and they had to have had reservations) and Joe Tame Man and Val Muchowski here in Mendocino County. Everyone else voted for Biden because he isn't Trump. (TV media are never lamer as when they're filling time while waiting for Big Events, as they waited Saturday night for Biden to show up to read from the teleprompter. CNN was simply embarrassing.) 

DRINKING GAME add-on: Go ahead and down one every time you hear the phrase “bring us together.” Slobber drool mawk. Only the dimmer libs dare say it out loud and won't be satisfied until we all have uniforms. Bring us together? East of I-5 it's a sea of red all the way to Manhattan. This sucker is split and as spilt as Humpty Dumpty. Always has been really. Trump simply heightened the contradiction, as the old Commies used to say.

A READER NOTES: “That is one thing about facebook, it can be a great source of photos of people. I've recently noticed, females in particular, seem to be using some sort of photo filter to transform their online faces. Weirdly smooth and blemish-free skin is the most obvious sign. Noses reduced, eyes enlarged, wrinkles removed — digital plastic surgery.”

A READER WRITES: Just a quiet, serene Saturday. Nothing special. Bwahahahahaha. Hey, I know it's not the answer and I fear that nothing much will get done. But at least soon I will never again have to see or hear or think about trump, ivanka, jared, don jr, eric, melania, RUDY, stephen miller, Bill Barr, Kaleigh, Betsy deVoid, The Mikes--Pence and Pompeo, Minuchin, Wilbur Ross, ETC etc. Maybe I can start reading fiction again. PS, the new website looks really good. Polished! 

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WE DOUBT UKIAH'S BRAIN TRUST realizes how dumb and dangerous their new State Street re-design is. Sure, the underground utilities probably needed rehab. But the reduction from four lanes to three and the installation of accidents-in-waiting downtown intersections has yet to kick in with most Ukiahans, with the possible exception of Tommy Wayne Kramer. And everyone else at the mercy of the Ukiah City Council. 

IT WAS BAD enough that they’re converting Ukiah’s central artery from four lanes to two. But the biggest problem with the new design is the enlarged sidewalk corners with clumps of pavement extending out into the lanes. Not only will the three lanes — two for traffic with a middle left-turn lane — cause some Ukiah antsy drivers to try to get around slower-clogged traffic, but they will then run right into the enlarged intersection corners where, presumably, pedestrians will be standing waiting for the light. And larger vehicles will have to swing even further out into oncoming traffic to make a turn. How long will it be before some poor soul has to die or be seriously injured downtown followed by the inevitable personal injury lawsuit against the city? 

HERE’S A BEFORE & AFTER VIEW of the intersection corner at the old Palace Hotel. 

THESE HORRIFIC CORNERS are being installed up and down State Street. Imagine driving through this at rush hour. It’s the craziest street design we’ve ever seen! 

Somebody should be fired — not that anything can be done about the problem this late in the game. For now, the only thing we can recommend is: Stay away from downtown Ukiah! 

(Mark Scaramella)

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CATCH OF THE DAY, November 7, 2020

Acosta, Alberni, Avendano, Barnett

RICO ACOSTA, Rio Linda/Ukiah. Failure to apepar.

BRADEY ALBERNI, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

OSCAR AVENDANO, Ukiah. DUI, no license, probation revocation.

JORY BARNETT, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

Betts, Chapman, Hayden

KEVIN BETTS, Willits. Controlled substance, probation revocation.

SCOTT CHAPMAN, Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation.

DAVID HAYDEN II, Covelo. Felon-addict with firearm, ammo possession by prohibited person, probation revocation.

Malone, Perez, Phenix, Scarioni

KRYSTAL MALONE, Fort Bragg. Trespassing.

DANIEL PEREZ, Ukiah. Controlled substance, resisting, probation revocation.

STEVEN PHENIX, Fort Bragg. DUI, misdemeanor hit&run.

ROXANNE SCARIONI, Santa Cruz/Ukiah. Probation revocation.

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Looking from the outside, American politics have taken a dark turn. Close to half the voters will not accept that the result of the election as legitimate.

Both parties will be discredited out of this dumpster fire of an election. The good news is that there is an opportunity for a new populist party to bring together both Trumpeters and Bernie Bros into something that will advocate for ordinary people. Surely in a nation of 330+ million people there are a few people who can organize a new approach to politics now that the old establishment is thoroughly discredited. That would be better than civil disorder or open revolt.

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While I applaud calls for stricter protocols and increased accountability for residential facilities, why are the rules so lax to begin with? Why do the facilities only have to test 25% of their workers every week? Why isn’t everyone tested weekly, including residents?

If we know anything for sure about COVID, it is that asymptomatic carriers can infect others. Without scheduled, intensive testing, it is no wonder that COVID is rampaging through these facilities.

The lack of care workers is another direct result of the failure of these corporations to pay a decent wage. Many work multiple jobs to earn a living. Responsible, empathetic caregivers are vital to the health of frail seniors and should be reimbursed by the corporations who make millions of dollars in profit on the backs of these laborers.

Corporate profit and California’s cozy relationship with assisted-living lobbyists explains the laxity of regulations long before COVID arrived. Isn’t the health and care of our elders more important than corporate profit? To date, the seniors are losing.

Donna Gaetano

Santa Rosa

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You probably know how I feel about the news Saturday. I’m sick to my stomach. I’ll never know, even with all the corruption, the Democrats, the media, big tech, and all the other people leading the campaign for that slimy bastard… I still don’t know how he won. I guess there are still a lot of things in the works and we’ll find out in the end. But he will never be my President. Never! I’m still wearing my Trump hat. As far as I’m concerned, President Trump is still our President. I will never, ever recognize Joe Biden as my President. 

God Bless Donald Trump,

Jerry Philbrick 


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by James Meeks

In the spring of 2020, while the world stayed indoors to suppress Covid-19, arsonists attacked mobile phone towers in Britain, Ireland, the Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand. They set fire to nearly a hundred towers in the UK, or tried to; there were twenty attacks over the Easter weekend alone, including one on a tower serving a Birmingham hospital. The arsonists believed that the latest mobile phone technology, 5G, was the real cause of the pandemic. They imagined a worldwide conspiracy: either the unexpectedly genocidal effects of the 5G rollout were being covered up by faking a pandemic, or 5G was being used deliberately to kill huge numbers of people and help enslave whoever was left. In the actual world, 5G’s feeble radio waves aren’t capable of any of this – you’d get more radiation standing near a baby monitor – but the fire-setters are unheedful of that world.

As well as the anti-5G insurgency, the conspiracist assault on the mainstream approach to coronavirus takes the form of a suspicion of vaccination, an older concern than 5G-phobia and more of an obstacle to governments’ plans to contain the virus. But the encounter between conspiracy theory and Covid-19 isn’t as clear-cut as that. When the pandemic hit, social media, hyper-partisan broadcasters, Trump-era populism and conspiracy theory were already creating a self-contained alternative political thought space conducive to the cross-fertilization of conspiracist ideas. Covid-19 and government efforts to control it – an extreme event, accompanied by what can seem baffling and intrusive restrictions – appear, in the conspiracist mind, as the most open moves yet by a secret group of sadistic tyrants who want to reduce the human population and enslave those who remain. The pandemic and official countermeasures are interpreted as proof, and Covid becomes the string on which any and all conspiracy theories may be threaded. 

Seen through the conspiracist filter, by forcing us to wear masks, by closing bars and isolating the frail elderly, by trying to terrify us over, as they see it, a dose of flu, or by microwaving us with 5G, the secret elite has shown its hand.

Now that its existence, nature and power have been proved to us, why shouldn’t we believe that the members of this group arranged 9/11? Or that Bill Gates is planning to kill us with vaccines, or inject us with nanochips hidden in vaccines, or both? Why shouldn’t the entire course of world events have been planned by a group of elite families hundreds, even thousands, of years ago? Why shouldn’t there be a link between the bounds to individual freedoms that governments have drawn up to slow climate change and the restrictions they’re carrying out in the name of beating Covid? Surely these two hoaxes are cooked up by the same firm, with the same agenda? Why, as followers of the American conspiracy theory known as QAnon insist, shouldn’t a group of politicians, tycoons and celebrities be kidnapping and torturing children on a massive scale?

A large survey in May conducted by researchers in Oxford found that only about half of English adults were free of what they termed “conspiracy thinking.” Three-quarters of the population have doubts about the official explanations of the cause of the pandemic; most people think there’s at least a chance it was man-made. Almost half think it may have been deliberately engineered by China against “the West.” Between a fifth and a quarter are ready to blame Jews, Muslims or Bill Gates, or to give credence to the idea that “the elite have created the virus in order to establish a one-world government”; 21% believe – a little, moderately, a lot or definitely – that 5G is to blame, about the same number who think it is “an alien weapon to destroy humanity.”

Conspiracy beliefs, the researchers concluded, were “likely to be both indexes and drivers of societal corrosion ... Fringe beliefs may now be mainstream. A previously defining element that the beliefs are typically only held by a minority may require revision… Healthy skepticism may have tipped over into a breakdown of trust.”

A friend, a BBC journalist, told me about a conversation he’d had with an acquaintance who began talking about the dangers of 5G and claimed that “every time a new kind of electromagnetic energy is invented, it causes a new kind of disease, like the invention of radar caused Spanish flu.”

“But Spanish flu happened in 1918, and radar wasn’t invented till the 1930s,” my friend said.

“You would say that, wouldn’t you?” This was uttered without a trace of a smile.

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The recording of last night's (2020-11-06) Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show on KNYO-LP Fort Bragg is right here:

Furthermore, at you'll find a fresh batch of dozens of links to not necessarily radio-useful but nonetheless worthwhile educational items I set aside for you while gathering the show together. Such as:

Careening around L.A. like an afreet frantically searching for his master's lost magical object. (via NagOnTheLake)

 Journalism. "News reporting is a young man's job, for the reporter must have stamina and endurance to withstand the strain of long and strenuous hours of work. He must have the courage and perseverance to get the story in spite of obstacles." And, "If you don’t like to write, you won't be happy in journalism." It's good that they tell you all that right up front. You don't want to find it out later, when you’re poised to blow the lid off this lousy town and it's just too much trouble, your muscles are string beans and noodles and you can barely lift your arms to place your indolent fingers over the write-o-matic keyboard and push down a few times. Underdogs and ordinary Joes and Josephines are counting on you. Crooked City Hall mob bosses are getting away with arson and murder, and pawn shop horse-track blacklight massage fortune-teller jukebox drug den slime is boiling up out of the sewers like a Boy Scout Jamboree science hall vinegar and baking soda volcano, oh, just shove over, I'll do it.

The common threat.

And an artificial intelligence analyzes paintings, describes them and comments elliptically on them. Example: "A large sculpture hangs on the ground with a spray painted on walls or imagine there is a pile of metal sculpture with several birds on it. I once observed two birds having sex on top of a roof covered in tile." The machine gets all that from seeing an amorphous blue, brown and pink smudge. It's goofy and impressive and, just like that, there go another few thousand jobs to automation. Next, wine and food columns, financial advice, landscaping, property management. Then cable tech support. Then Skynet.

Marco McClean,,


  1. Bernie Norvell November 8, 2020

    Craziest street design, au contraire!
    Come take a drive on Fort Braggs own Chestnut st. The City at the end of 2016 had grant money left over from the coastal trail. Instead of giving the remainder back we used it to redo chestnut st. We turned the North side sidewalk into a “path” so the funds could be used, hence the black top sidewalks. Put stop signs at every alley and cross street thus ensuring the bikes will stay in the street. We moved the power poles into the street before the project was approved making the decision harder to not give the money back. We had to zigzag the dotted yellow line to accommodate cars exiting their alleys. School busses had to reroute because they could no longer make the turns onto chestnut. Oh yea, it ended up hundreds of thousands over budget so the city used street paving funds to cover the deficit and not pave the street. Moral of the story, don’t be afraid to give the money back (CRT grant money).

    • mr. wendal November 8, 2020

      And the powers-that-be at the time have never publicly admitted this mistake, among many others of the grant grabbing variety. But the current City Council, for the most part, has common sense and isn’t spending the bulk of their time and our money chasing after grants that don’t improve Fort Bragg. Too bad it’s not yet happening with Mendocino County government. My vote is always for common sense.

      Fort Bragg also has bulb out intersections and people are always hopping backwards at the corner of E. Laurel and N. Franklin to avoid getting hit. The grant-funded project creating those bulb outs, along with the deteriorating, faded fake brick (or was it meant to look like cobblestone?) crosswalks, cheap paint-peeling light posts and flooding intersections was enthusiastically championed by Dan Gjerde when he was on the City Council. Is it a matter of “Look what I accomplished!” no matter the outcome?

    • Judy November 8, 2020

      Ukiah or any City for that matter would be hard pressed to find a crazier street design than Chestnut St. in Fort Bragg.

  2. Lee Edmundson November 8, 2020

    Okee Dokee… Your new format was at first a bit jarring. A bit too slick. I liked the old rough hewn look, but, hey, I still buy a hard copy of your paper even though I also read the on line edition daily. Maybe I’m old fashioned…maybe I’m just old.
    Glad to see you’ve added back the Comments section, just so long as they don’t end up resembling List Serve threads.
    NB: calling petty names a la The Donald is beneath you. I’ve known and occasionally worked with Joe Louis Wildman for a many years now — every election cycle it seems and, sure, he is a mellow fellow — but he and everyone methinks, deserves to be addressed by their proper name. Good to see you captioned his (very good) photo with his proper name.
    The Trumpster was a master at inventing denigrating monikers — Sleepy Joe, Crooked Hillary, Little Marco, you catch my drift here — but serious writers should stay above that cheap shot demeaning of people. Yes? Even you.
    I am reminded of John Procter’s lament in Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible when he refuses to sign the phony confession to witchcraft — his signature upon which would save his life — he would not not sign not only because he knew what it confessed was false, but more importantly, to him, “Because it is my name!”
    Back in the olden days (not all that many years ago) a person was as good as their word. That is, they were as good as their name, It’s the least modicum of respect we owe to our fellow travelers through this veil of trouble and strife (with occasional joy and exaltation).
    So, thanks to you and the Major and any and all who contribute to continuing the last real newspaper. Here’s to many more interesting times.

  3. chuck dunbar November 8, 2020


    Marilyn Davin, always a fine writer and reporter, speaks with heart and soul-baring honesty in “Mom’s House,” about her adult son who has lost his way in life. It’s a piece that has haunted me some over the last week, returning several times to read it through. As a social worker, her son’s situation makes me wish for a clear, enduring solution, but of course, as Ms. Davin so well depicts, there is none, at least for now. So it comes down to an imperfect compromise, over many years, to insure her son’s basic safety—giving him a home, a place to be, no matter what. That choice keeps him from being out there in the cold under a bridge. It’s a choice that reflects a mother’s fierce love for her son, focusing in the end on what matters most. I hope, along with Ms. Davin, that at some point a change will come, and a better life will reveal itself to her son, perhaps through one of those small miracles that come to us now and then. And I hope, his soul surely starved for a real, full life, that he’ll leap for the chance to live and thrive again, to move on with his life.

    I shared this essay with a friend whose young, adult daughter’s life is in terrible disarray. My friend, a good person and a good parent, cares deeply for her daughter. And she has tried, like Ms. Davin, to help her in so many ways for several years. Yet still her daughter remains in a sad, tough, troubled place. My friend was grateful for Ms. Davin’s thoughts, her sharing of another mother’s dilemma, and of the hard choices that come when a son or daughter is lost and failing in life.

    Thank you, Marilyn Davin, for writing so bravely about your son and yourself. My heart goes out to both of you. May grace bring better times for your family.

    • PhiloFred November 8, 2020

      Agreed, it was a thought-provoking piece, bravely written, and has stayed with me in the days since I read it.

  4. Steve Heilig November 8, 2020

    Poor Jerry Philbrick suddenly reminds me of those Manson family girls who never gave up on Charlie and followed him from prison to prison.

  5. Douglas Coulter November 8, 2020

    Conspire? A group of rich men conspire to get richer! This is not theory it is history. The Luddites saw the damage in the early days of industrial revolution. But it’s harmless! Oh how often do they tell us that tale? I knew sailors who were given sunglasses at Bikini Atol who stood on deck and watched in 1950’s almost all dead by 1990. DDT Agent Orange, asbestos, atomic energy, on and on.
    When I was young the promise of nuclear power was”electricity too cheap to meter”
    Nothing in the universe is free!
    A conspiracy theory is just like forensic science. Start with a bogus story and follow the money to root out motive. You still believe 9-11 was done by super powered box cutters? NIST report throws laws of physics into the dumpster.
    Everyone in the world knows Warren Report was bogus but that was then and this is now! Snowden and Manning leaked documents that prove USA war crimes and they are the criminals?
    When pharmaceutical industry is allowed to cover drug damages with non-disclosure agreements they are no different from big tobacco.

    The law of The Lord is perfect….perfect law is self enforcing.

  6. Marmon November 8, 2020


    Parler is now the third most downloaded app in the world, ahead of both Fakebook & Twitter. People are collectively giving a huge middle finger to the tech tyrants as their role in this fraud is exposed.


  7. Eric Sunswheat November 8, 2020

    New ongoing studies point out that psilocybin psychedelic guided mental health treatment may provide a dramatic turn around for depression, thus the lack of a firm Measure B business plan because of a moving target goal, as the corrupted science Big Pharma toxic chemical nonsense fades.

  8. Harvey Reading November 8, 2020

    AVA reveals its true conservative self with the new format. Perfect for Mendocinia.

    • Bruce Anderson November 8, 2020

      Please, Harv. The cyber-gods forced us. Myself, I prefer the uninterrupted columns of gray found in the paper-paper ava, which is forever, or goes with me when I step off into the void or, my pref, an eternal sunny day at the ballpark

      • Lazarus November 8, 2020

        Change is the only true constant.
        A new AVA format, Biden & Harris, Trump’s a lame duck, Winter is coming, it rained, no fires, what could possibly go wrong?
        Be Swell,

        • Lazarus November 8, 2020

          Oh, and no edit button? Or am I missing something? And then there’s, “Your comment is awaiting moderation. ” What’s up with that? Shades of FB and Twitter?
          As always,

          • AVA News Service Post author | November 8, 2020

            Edit button has been restored.

            We’re experimenting with moderating all incoming comments.

      • Marshall Newman November 8, 2020

        The only constant in the world is change. Those rejecting this change in format should consider also rejecting modern medicine in favor of blood-letting, e-mail in favor of posted letters, and automobiles in favor of horses and buggies.

  9. Harvey Reading November 8, 2020

    “The SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that was first identified in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, has blindly evolved an ingenious strategy for perpetuating itself — perhaps indefinitely — through its host population: riding on human stupidity, impatience and selfishness.”


    And that’ll be it from me. George and James can peddle their right-wing lies to their willing, gullible audience to their hearts’ content.

  10. Douglas Coulter November 8, 2020

    My childhood was full of poetry, thank you father.

    The Old Oaken Bucket (as revised by the board of health)
    Anonymous this poem from Best Loved Poems collection.

    With what anguish of mind I remember my childhood,
    Recalled in the light of knowledge since gained,
    The malarious farm, the wet fungus grown wildwood,
    The chills then contracted that since have remained;
    The scum covered duck pond, the pig sty close by it,
    The ditch where the sour smelling house drainage fell,
    The damp shaded dwelling, the foul barnyard nigh it-
    But worse than all else was that terrible well,
    And the old oaken bucket, the mold crusted bucket,
    The moss covered bucket that hung in the well.

    Just think of it! Moss on the vessel that lifted
    The water I drank in the days called to mind;
    Ere I knew what professors and scientist gifted
    In the waters of wells by analysis find;
    The rotting wood fiber, the oxide of iron,
    The algae, the frog of unusual size,
    The water as clear as the verses of Byron,
    Are things I remember with tears in my eyes.

    Oh had I but realized in time to avoid them-
    The dangers that lurked in that pestilential draft-
    I’d have tested for organic germs and destroyed them
    With potassic permanganate ere I had quaffed.
    Or perchance I’d have boiled it, and afterwards strained it
    Through filters of charcoal and gravel combined;
    Or, after distilling, condensed and regained it
    In potable form with its filth left behind.

    How little I knew of enteric fever
    Which lurked in the water I ventured to drink,
    But since I’ve become a devoted believer
    In the teachings of science, I shudder to think.
    And now, far removed from the scenes I’m describing,
    The story of warning to others I tell,
    As memory reverts to my youthful imbibing
    And I gag at the thought of that terrible well,
    And the old oaken bucket, the fungus grown bucket,
    In fact, the slop bucket that hung in the well

    This was probably written in the 20’s or 30’s when we discovered the delusion that all germs are dangerous.
    Life cannot exist without germs. Good germs protect us from bad germ. The vulture has more bacteria on it head than in its stomach. Vertually all known pathogens end at the vulture. Natures perfect clean up crew

  11. Professor Cosmos November 11, 2020

    Lauren Sinnott on last day of painting, with anti graffiti coating applied also by her and Phil, relates stories of persons in most recent 2 panels:

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