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Mendocino County Today: December 16, 2020

Rainy Evening | 32 Cases | Covid Tsunami | USA Rising | Conrad Cox | Cemetery Kinfolk | Mayor Norvell | Public Expression | No Volleyball | Local Tradesman | Willits Mainstreet | Unfair Board | Formula Business | Ed Notes | Revolution Day | PA Testing | Early Willits | Supe Search | Mendo County | Yesterday's Catch | DNC Negotiators | Willits Mercantile | Cliff House | Willits 1949 | O'Hare Airport | Willits 1950s | Saving Democracy | Fraud Vigilante | Homemade Truck | Cleveland Indians | Sainte Chapelle | Left Wingers | Almost There | Independent Thought | Political Action | Missed Paychecks | Teaching Credential | Another Wednesday | Winter Solstice

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A WEATHER FRONT will bring widespread moderate to heavy rain to most of NW California later today and tonight. Gusty winds along the coast and high elevation snow can also be expected. The precipitation should taper to lingering showers on Thursday. (NWS)

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32 NEW COVID CASES reported in Mendocino County on Sunday, bringing the total to 2051.

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Miller Report for the Week of December 14th, 2020

By William Miller, MD – Chief of Staff at Adventist Health – Mendocino Coast Hospital

I was on a call with health officials this morning who described what they are seeing in this current COVID outbreak as like a tsunami moving north from the southern part of the State.  Many of the hospitals in the LA basin are above capacity and have no ICU beds left.  Our Adventist sister hospital in Bakersfield has reported that 110 of its 256 beds are filled with COVID patients.  It also reported 28 patients being boarded in the ER waiting for a hospital bed to open up so they could be admitted. San Jose Regional Medical Center, the main trauma center serving the southern end of the Bay Area recently reported that its 48 ICU beds were completely full and that it was temporarily not accepting any further transfers from other, smaller hospitals. 

Yet, at the same time, there are many areas that are still relatively lightly affected.  For example, in speaking with a physician colleague down in San Diego, she told me that most of the cases they are seeing are clustered in the eastern part of their county, with much less in the western part being easily manageable.  Something interesting that she also told me was that US hospitals along the Mexican border are seeing a dramatic surge of cases, not from Mexican nationals, but from American expatriates who have been living down in Mexico and are now returning to the US because they are ill with COVID.

Closer to home, Mendocino County belongs in the Northern Region of eleven counties with the majority of hospital beds being located in four of those counties; Del Norte, Humboldt, Lakeside and Mendocino. As of this writing, in our three hospitals in Mendocino, we have 14 hospitalized patients with COVID out of a total of 100 beds, three are in the ICU out of 16 ICU beds.  On the Coast, we have been running a steady one to two COVID patients at a time for several weeks now.

Compared with other parts of the state, I would say that we continue to have relatively few cases here on the Coast.  This will likely change in the next few weeks because of our own local cases or because of transfers in to us.  The reality is that at some point, we may be obliged to accept patients from afar; even intubated, ICU level patients.  While this reality may worry some; that is what our surge plan has been preparing for.  That decision will come from the California Department of Public Health which must look at all resources available in the state to deal with this mounting disaster.  In that context, we will not be able to refuse if called upon and I am not sure we would ethically want to refuse.  The only way we are going to get through this is if we all stick together.  If we on the Mendocino Coast are ever hit by a real tsunami, I am sure we would appreciate help from our neighboring counties.  It is simply what we must do because it is the right thing to do.

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RETIRED SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE CONRAD COX HAS DIED. Born and raised in Ukiah, In our several experiences with him in his court we found him to be conscientious and fair, which is all you can hope for from a judge.

Judge Conrad Cox

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Russian River Cemetery District Searches for Next of Kin

The Russian River Cemetery District is asking for the public’s help in identifying those buried, and their next of kin, in a dozen unmarked graves at the Historic Redwood Valley Cemetery. In a lawsuit against the District, Michael Pecherer is seeking to have the remains of those buried at least 100 years ago removed from a 15-foot section of the historic pioneer cemetery. 

The Mendocino Superior Court recently denied a motion by the District to have the case dismissed for not including the next of kin of those buried in the disputed area. The court stated in part that the District may bring the motion again in the future after more information is known.

Pecherer, a San Francisco attorney and real estate broker, purchased a 20-acre vineyard next to the cemetery in 2014. Several years after purchasing the property, Pecherer conducted a survey he claims shows that a small section of the cemetery, with up to a dozen graves on it dating back from before 1920, and part of the cemetery’s fence, are on his property.

Pecherer sued the District claiming nuisance and trespass for the graves and the fence, rescission of a previous settlement agreement in which he paid more than $80,000 to the District for cutting down trees on the cemetery without the District’s permission, and for financial elder abuse. 

The Mendocino Superior Court originally dismissed the lawsuit based upon the doctrine of Dedication to the Public since the disputed part of the cemetery was dedicated to the public more than 100 years ago. 

Pecherer appealed, and the appellate court reversed, stating it was too early in the lawsuit to make a determination of dedication. 

The case is now back to the Mendocino Superior Court (Pecherer v. Russian River Cemetery District, Case No. SCUK-CVG 17-69536). The Superior Court will address several issues, including the need to include next of kin of those buried in the disputed area of the cemetery in the lawsuit. The District does not own the remains buried in the cemetery, and the District believes that it is necessary to include the next of kin to protect their rights.

“If Pecherer prevails and the court orders the remains removed, then the court will have determined the rights of those buried in the cemetery without them even being part of the lawsuit. As such, they are not only necessary, but indispensable, parties to the lawsuit,” said the District’s attorney, Mark R. Velasquez of Best Best & Krieger LLP.

The District’s attorneys are now seeking information concerning the ownership of those buried in the Redwood Valley Cemetery, and is asking anyone with knowledge of those buried in the cemetery, and especially potential next of kin, to contact Velasquez. 

He can be reached at

(Best Best & Krieger LLP is a national law firm that focuses on environmental, business, special districts, municipal and telecommunications law for public agency and private clients. With more than 200 attorneys, the law firm has 10 offices nationwide, including Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego and Washington, D.C. For more information, visit or follow @BBKlaw on Twitter or @BestBestKrieger on Facebook.)


A former San Francisco real estate lawyer and broker is embroiled in a land dispute that has the owners of a historic Northern California cemetery scrambling to find next of kin for more than a dozen people buried there more than a century ago.

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BERNIE NORVELL has been elevated by his Fort Bragg City Council peers as mayor, Jessica Morsell-Haye, vice mayor.

Morsell-Haye & Norvell

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THIS ODD ENTRY appeared in the minutes of the November 18, 2020 Measure B Committee meeting: “PUBLIC EXPRESSION: Jonathan Davis singing ‘Gonna Take a Lot of Love’ by Neil Young.”

(Mark Scaramella)

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This pandemic has been so hard for our children. Every time we turn around, there are new rules and guidelines, and even more of their normal life being stolen away from them. School and sports and extra-curriculars are no longer a part of their every day schedule. Until these were all taken away, I’m not sure we realized just how much we needed them. 

For the past several months, Coaches Flick and Kendra have been volunteering their time to keep training a handful of girls who simply love playing volleyball. They’ve been meeting at the elementary school three days a week and are meticulous in following the county health order. 

Temperatures are taken before they start, balls are sanitized after every game, the girls make sure their gear is all set down separately, etc. etc. 

This has been the one thing keeping my girls sane over these last several months and I’m not sure I have the words to express my gratitude toward them. 

This past weekend was their last official practice at the elementary school. Once again, the superintendent has found a way to continue taking away from the children he is there to serve, citing the current county health order as his reasoning for banning the kids from an outdoor activity. Although he states to care for their mental well being, I have serious doubts that this is the case. The City of Ukiah is able to hold classes (at a cost) and the health order does allow for sports. So what makes AV so special that we can’t do these things? Or does Mr. Warych know something the rest of us don’t and can predict the future outbreaks? Either way, he has once again proven that he really does not care for these kids or their well being. 

My daughters are upset. They have spent months of following every rule to the letter and refuse to let this man tell them no (from his home in Grass Valley) without hearing their voice. I hope other parents will do the same. Please join me in contacting our school board members and making these girls heard. 

Shauna Espinoza 


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With 20 years of experience in residential and commercial construction throughout California, it's time to stay local and work within our community. 

Professional experience includes design and construction in:

  • interior finish carpentry
  • custom furniture
  • shelving and countertops
  • table tops
  • custom lighting
  • door and window install
  • stairways decks and railings
  • hardwood flooring
  • residential design
  • residential permitting consultant

For the past 10 years, I have focused primarily on restaurant design in the bay area. My company website is (Nicholas Roberto)


Willits Main Street, Pre-1900

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Dear Editor;

I listened in on the Mendocino County Fair Board meeting, held by telephone, on the evening of Dec. 14th., and I was astonished to hear most of the Board oppose yet another chance to serve the Anderson Valley Community. I believe, more than ever now, that the only interest of most of the Fair Board is to preserve and protect their own little fiefdom here in Boonville.

The Fair Board is being asked to approve the use of 7 acres of their overflow parking lot for an above ground building for a sewage treatment plant and underground disposal of the resulting nearly drinkable water produced by it. Most of the Board members clearly want nothing to do with this proposal, and the questions that they asked regarding it were loaded with their dislike of and opposition to the proposal.

This is nothing new - despite a lot of tear-jerking comments about “the legacy of the fair” and “community service,” it was more of the same old thing: They do not want this, years ago they did not want a swimming pool, they did not want a bike path that might go through the fairgrounds, and community members cannot walk dogs or ride bikes in this public space. Presented with a proposal to re-locate the Food Bank to the Fairgrounds, in these troubled times, a fee of $1,000 per month was suggested for this “service.”

The Board was apparently unmoved by a tentative offer of $70,000 per acre for the proposed sewage plan. That would be almost a half a million dollars if my math is correct.

I for one am outraged by the idea that the public might have to pay anything at all to use PUBLIC property for a public service such as a sewer plant. I am equally outraged that they would ask the Food Bank to pay them anything to hook up a refrigerator and freezer and use a bit of OUR own space for a few hours every two weeks. Who does this Board suppose pays for that electricity, and those roads, anyway? I submit that the PUBLIC pays for it and that it is OURS.

What is it that they do for the community anyway?

Thanks for listening.

Tom McFadden


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Fort Bragg Planning Commission will hold a special meeting on Thursday December 17, 2020 at 6:00 PM. To make recommendations for the preparation of an ordinance to regulate formula businesses in the City of Fort Bragg to view the agenda:

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IDIOCY MARCHES ON: The San Francisco School Board has decided that Lincoln High School must be re-named. Abraham Lincoln, you see, has been determined by these historical illiterates as unworthy because “the majority of his policies proved to be detrimental to Native Americans.” In local fact, it was the Lincoln Administration that dispatched the Army to protect the Native Americans of the Eel River Basin, which should give the man Tolstoy considered humankind's greatest product some credit from contemporary illiberal liberals. It seems from here that the evil events characteristic of yesteryear shouldn't be erased, perfumed right outta the record, because it's against those events and institutions that we measure how far forward we've come. Call me Pollyanna, but every person of my vintage grew up in a social context where black people were legally harmed and insulted every which way, Indians were mowed down in the movies by John Wayne, Mexicans hadn't arrived, Chinese were synonymous with chop suey and firecrackers. We've done pretty well in the race department considering much of our past. 

WHENEVER the misery lobby pops up in the public viewshed, as they have recently in Fort Bragg (BIPOC), my general impression is of a kind of confused misery. Who are these unhappy white people? Do they ever consider the effect they have on most of us, how unappealing they are apart from their errant demands? Who are they? I've tried to contact several of these fog belt book burners but they won't engage, and how serious is anybody who won't? 

THE LIB MEDIA, print, audio and visual, have behaved throughout the Trump interlude as propagandists for Democrats — Biden-Clinton-Obama Democrats, not Bernie or AOC Democrats. The belated discovery by the NYT and the Situation Room, a month after the votes were tabulated, that Hunter Biden, monetizing his father, has sold himself to foreigners. NPR this morning (Tuesday) said Hunter has tax problems, as if Joe's drug-addled son wasn't in any truly serious trouble.

THE NEW YORK POST broke the inconvenient Biden story before the election, but it was written off as a “distraction” by the NYT and a menace to democratic health by the technology companies that control the flow of much of our information. The few journalists who got it out there were insulted as Russian dupes. 

WE'LL NEVER KNOW what effect the Biden revelations might have had on the election if Big Lib hadn't hid it. The electoral margin in three states—Georgia, Wisconsin and Arizona—that combined to give Joe Biden 37 electoral votes, and the presidency, was a little under 43,000 votes, a vanishingly small sliver of the two men’s 155.5 million total nationwide votes.

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COVID-19 Testing to Be Conducted in Point Arena Friday

Free surveillance testing for COVID-19 will be provided to residents of Point Arena and the South Coast.

The drive-thru testing will be conducted on a first come-first serve basis on Friday December 18 starting at 9:30am 1pm and is free-of-charge.

Please do not come if you are experiencing symptoms such as fever, instead contact your health care provider.

WHAT: COVID-19 Surveillance Testing

WHEN: Friday, December 18, 9:30am 1pm

WHERE: Point Arena City Hall/Veteran's Building, 451 School Street

For general information about the testing, please contact Point Arena City Hall at 882-2122. Please note that no reservations for testing will be accepted.

FRIDAY TESTING TIME CHANGE: "The time for COVID19 testing in Point Arena has been changed to 1pm Friday. Please let the public know about this change. The City just learned that the time was changed by Public Health." (Paul Anderson, Deputy City Manager, City of Point Arena)

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Early Willits, 1900s

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Dear Members of the Anderson Valley Educational Community,

I’m writing to update you on our search for our next superintendent. As you may know, Superintendent Michael Warych is retiring at the end of June, 2021, after three years of exceptional service to our district. We have begun the process to hire our district’s next superintendent.

Scott Mahoney is assisting us with the process. Scott was superintendent in the Waugh School District in Petaluma for nineteen years and retired from the Ross School District. Since retirement he has assisted thirteen districts with their searches for a superintendent. Scott will be reporting to our School Board during the process.

Between now and January, 2021, Scott will be gathering input from both individuals and groups of employees, parents, and community members regarding desired professional qualifications and personal attributes of our next superintendent. The input will be used to develop advertising materials, screening criteria, and interview questions. Scott will be meeting with:

  • Current superintendent
  • Employees in groups (Zoom), via a survey, and individually (if desired)
  • Parents in groups (Zoom), a SurveyMonkey Survey, and individually
  • Anderson Valley Teachers leadership
  • Anderson Valley Classified Employees Association leadership
  • District English Learner Advisory Committee
  • Community members in meetings and using a SurveyMonkey Survey
  • School board members
  • School Office Managers
  • School Principals (individually at their sites via Zoom)
  • Special education staff members
  • High School students using a SurveyMonkey Survey
  • District Office staff members
  • Other groups and individuals as needed

If you have specific input that you would like to share you may also email Scott at any time at, or call him at 707 953-3434.

After advertising and screening applicants, our Board will interview top prospects in late February, 2021. We hope to announce our next superintendent at a late February regular meeting. He or she will then officially start on July 1, 2021

We will keep you up-to-date during the process at our school board meetings.


Dick Browning, Board President

Anderson Valley Unified School District

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HE RECOGNIZED IN HIMSELF a secret wish to step off into some abyss of bad taste and moral sloth, and Mendocino County seemed as good a place as any to find it. 

— Bob Jenks, Covelo

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CATCH OF THE DAY, December 15, 2020

Acosta, Barriga, Berg, Dewitt


JOSE BARRIGA-BARRERA, Ukiah. Domestic abuse with priors.

ROBERT BERG, Ukiah. Mandatory supervision sentencing.

KENNETH DEWITT JR., Ukiah. Controlled substance, parole violation.

Escobedo, Harris, Linner

JESSICA ESCOBEDO-FERNANDEZ, Ukiah. Grand theft from person, theft by forged or invalid access card, getting credit with another’s ID, conspiracy.

EUGENE HARRIS, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

DAMOND LINNER, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, resisting.

Macias, Macias-Frausto, Maynard, Moon

JESUS MACIAS, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. 


ANDREW MAYNARD, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)

JESSE MOON, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation.

Reeves, Rodriguez, Young

CECILIA REEVES, Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation revocation.

JORGE RODRIGUEZ-VENCES, Ukiah. Domestic battery.

JONATHAN YOUNG, Willits. Controlled substance.

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by Matt Taibbi

A senior Democratic congressional aide is irate tonight.

“The Democrats,” the aide seethed, “have just done the worst negotiating in modern history.”

At issue: a pair of new Covid-19 relief bills, just submitted by a bipartisan group of Senators. Republican Senator Susan Collins gushed that a ”Christmas Miracle” allowed the two parties came together on the twin bills, which the press describes as totaling $748 billion and $160 billion, respectively. “Bipartisanship and compromise is [sic] alive and well in Washington,” clucked West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin.

It sure is. With the election over, the Democratic leadership in the space of a few weeks somehow negotiated against themselves, working with Republicans to push the total amount of a Covid-19 relief deal further and further downward, to the point where previous plans offered by the likes of Mitch McConnell and Steve Mnuchin now look like LBJ’s Great Society. Democrats ultimately settled for less than a third of what they had set as a baseline for state and local aid, accepted a package without any $1,200 direct payments, and signed off on a plan that, after offsets, includes less than $350 billion in new money, well below a slew of pre-election proposals rejected by Democrats like Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer as being too low.

“They totally caved,” the aide says.

Back in May, the Democrat-led House passed the HEROES Act, a $3.4 trillion relief package that was pitched as the bill Democrats really wanted. It contained $413 billion new dollars for $1,200 direct payments to citizens, as well as $437 billion in additional unemployment benefits, and a whopping $1.13 trillion for state and local governments.

Trump said the bill was “dead on arrival,” McConnell blasted it as a “$3 trillion left-wing wish list,” and the anti-spending group Taxpayers for Common Sense seethed that Democrats unrealistically put “everything they could think of” in the bill. Still, Democrats insisted this was the right amount, at the right time, a moral necessity.

“The House has passed a major bill dealing with COVID,” Schumer said in May, blasting his Senate Republican colleagues for a “pause” in negotiations. “We have done nothing.”

Republicans, via McConnell, countered in July with the unfortunately named HEALS Act, reported as a roughly $1 trillion aid deal.

The bill included another round of $1,200 relief checks. Pelosi in August ripped the plan as “meager measures,” and said Republicans were refusing to take action to feed hungry children: When Republicans ended up backing a so-called “Skinny” $650 billion deal, it was reported as a signal that the GOP opposition was determined not to budge above what the Trump administration was willing to offer, at the time rumored to be somewhere between $1-$1.5 trillion. In September, as time wound down toward Election Day, the bipartisan “Problem Solvers” group released a $1.5 trillion aid plan which they pitched as a version of that theoretical compromise between Democratic and Republican positions. Though the group contained some Democrats, it was dismissed by Party leadership.

A group of Democratic Committee chairs, including Maxine Waters, Carolyn Maloney, and Frank Pallone, released an “unusual” statement denouncing the “Problem Solvers” plan, saying it “falls short of what is needed to save lives and boost the economy.”

Democrats countered soon after by passing an updated version of the HEROES Act that offered $2.2 trillion in relief.

The Republicans, this time led by Steve Mnuchin and an increasingly desperate-seeming Donald Trump, came back on October 9th with a $1.8 trillion proposal.

Reeling as he stumbled toward Election Day thanks to a series of missteps and scandals, Trump seemed anxious to go beyond his previous numbers, if it meant he’d get to sign more checks before Election Day:

This time, even some prominent Democrats were insisting the time was right to strike. “We’re in a place where we should be able to do a deal,” said California’s Ro Khanna. “We have a moral obligation to do something.”

The Democratic leadership disagreed. It was reported that Pelosi was now insisting on at least $436 billion in state and local aid, and the Mnuchin plan of $300 billion for states and localities just wouldn’t cut it. In a “Dear Colleagues” letter on October 10th, Pelosi described Trump as more interested in taking credit than passing an aid plan: "When the President talks about wanting a bigger relief package, his proposal appears to mean that he wants more money at his discretion to grant or withhold, rather than agreeing on language prescribing how we honor our workers, crush the virus and put money in the pockets of workers."

Ultimately, of course, no deal got done before the election. After the election, the Democrats put two of their most conservative members — Manchin and Virginia’s Mark Warner — in charge of negotiating the Covid-19 relief bill.

Manchin is the guy who just responded to reports that Trump wanted to give out “more money” in direct payments by saying he thought it was a “bad idea” to give out stimulus checks and not supplemental unemployment relief. Manchin and Warner repped the Democrats in the bipartisan group that included Republicans Collins from Maine, Lisa Murkowski from Alaska, and Bill Cassidy from Louisiana. Their new deal unveiled today makes little sense, in the context of all of those prior negotiations.

Remember all of that state and local funding that Democrats insisted was so crucial to the aid package?

Monday, the state and local aid package signed off on by Manchin and Warner is down to $160 billion, appropriated as part of a separate bill that may or may not pass at all, with the main $748 billion plan. In other words, Democrats just agreed to take seven times less than the $1.13 trillion they asked for in the HEROES Act, and about half of Mnuchin’s $300 billion offer in October that Pelosi rejected as “sadly inadequate.” As for that $748 billion bill? According to the senior Democratic aide, who pointed to comments made by Mitt Romney, it includes $560 billion in offsets, “repurposed from March’s CARES Act.”

In other words, the aide says, “The $748 billion deal is really just $188 billion in new money.” Given all the high-flown rhetoric the Party devoted before Election Day to rejecting aid packages they deemed heartlessly small, the hypocrisy, he says, is “amazing.”

If you include the $160 billion package for state and local aid, the new deal offers a maximum of $348 billion in new money, well below some of the better offers they received from Republicans over the summer and fall, and on par instead with the very worst GOP proposals, like that “Skinny” bill passed in September, which netted out to $300 billion after offsets. Conspicuously absent? As CNBC put it, the deal “lacks one key area of aid,” the $1,200 direct payment checks that seemingly everyone on the Hill claimed to want, from Trump to McConnell to Pelosi. Those are gone from the “Christmas Miracle,” but fear not, because the bill didn’t screw over everyone heading into the holidays. You can find this little nugget on the last line of the summary of the Bipartisan Covid-19 Relief Act of 2020:

“There are no direct payments for regular working people, people living off tips,” the aide says. “But they made sure there’s a provision in there to help defense contractors who aren’t working right now. They get what they’re looking for.”

With the Orange One on his way out of the White House, denying the president a political win is no longer even theoretically important. Because of this, there’s a school of thought that this deal is revealing something important about how Democrats want to lead under Biden, i.e. willing and/or anxious to work with Republicans on programs signaling fiscal restraint, and away from aggressive social programming ideas of the type favored by the Party’s progressive base. Maybe that’s not the case, and this is an aberration. But it sure seems like the Democratic leadership went out of its way to take less.

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BROKEASS STUART: Yet another true San Francisco legend is closing down permanently. As we reported back in July, The Cliff House shut down temporarily because continuing to do businesses during COVID wasn’t economically feasible. But now it seems they are permanently closing because their landlord, the Federal Government, is shaking them down.

A press release received yesterday from Dan and Mary Hountalas, the Cliff House’s proprietors since 1973, states that the National Park Service, who owns the building, is asking for unreasonable concessions in order for the Hountalas family business to continue occupying the space. According to the press release, the Hountalases have been running the Cliff House since 3 years before the NPS bought the building. Part of the deal is up keeping and maintaining the massive historical building, which costs “tens of thousands of dollars a month”. After their 20 year contract with the NPS was up in 2018, the Hountalases tried to renegotiate a new long-term contract, only to get be given successive six month and one year extensions instead. Despite the decimation caused by the pandemic, the NPS has refused to be accommodating or understanding. As the press release states:

“The NPS offered us a fourth one-year extension to continue guarding and maintaining their building with all costs to be paid for by us without any compensation whatsoever from the NPS. Unlike the government which is not held accountable for profits and losses we could not accept the additional extension as there is no possibility of doing a sustainable level of business for the foreseeable future.”

And so the Cliff house must permanently close.

On top of San Francisco losing one of its iconic landmark restaurants, 180 people are permanently losing their jobs. This whole thing is terrible.

Lisa Buckley who works at the Cliff House had this to say:

“I joined the Cliff House in 2004 and working there has been such a unique and wonderful experience, we are a tightknit quirky sf family with Dan and Mary’s incredible support. I have never worked anywhere in my 35 years in hospitality like it. We all were part of creating lasting memories for our guests, and have been told countless stories by visitors reflecting on times gone by that span over generations. Going to work everyday to my ‘corner office by the sea’ was a pleasure hard to believe it will be gone.”

If you think this is as messed up as I do you can email the NPS directly by reaching out to: Laura Joss –

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Willits, 1949

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Did you ever wonder why Chicago’s main airport is named after the son of Al Capone’s partner in crime. There is a story.

Al Capone lived for about 15 years after he got out of prison. This was a time after Pearl Harbor when the Secret Service was desperate to find a way to further protect President Franklin Roosevelt. 

Then someone remembered that when the government convicted Capone on tax evasion charges, they had also seized his 1930 V16 Armor Plated Cadillac Sedan. This was a perfect solution as this bullet-proof car fell into the lap of the Secret Service Presidential motor pool.

So Capone’s car became the President’s major transportation. This really pissed Capone off, who was now retired to his Palm Island estate in Florida. Capone was angry because his former partner, Ed O’Hare, had played a major role in the tax conviction case that sent Al to prison. 

In return for this tax evidence against Capone, Ed O’Hare insisted his son, Ed Jr. get into the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland. The government arranged this for him. 

By 1942, Ed Jr. became the Navy's first flying ace when he single-handedly attacked a formation of nine heavy Japanese bombers approaching his aircraft carrier. Even though he had a limited amount of ammunition, he was credited with shooting down five of the enemy bombers and became the first naval recipient of the Medal of Honor in World War II.

In 1943, Ed Jr. was shot down and killed in action. The war effort and it’s aftermath needed heroes and by 1949 they gave the name of O’Hare to Chicago’s famous airport.

So that is how the airport got it’s name, but what about Capone? He had Ed O’Hare senior killed in 1939 and continued to live at his waterfront mansion until his death in 1947. 

(Bill Kimberlin) 

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Willits, 1950s

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by Jonah Raskin

Criminal defense lawyer Rod Jones & local Cannabis entrepreneur David Ayster will address the pros & cons of this proposed complex system of regulation that follows similar legalization efforts in Colorado and Washington state but which California voters have so far refused to approve.

Speaking against the proposition at the discussion was David Ayster, who owns a company called Root One Botanicals, which produces medicinal cannabis concentrates and who is currently working with the City of Fort Bragg to craft an ordinance permitting and regulating cannabis manufacturing in the city limits of Fort Bragg.

One of his main concerns is that the proposition perpetuates a stigma surrounding cannabis and its use.

“It maintains the status quo opinion that cannabis consumption is bad, and it is something that should be hidden from view. It should only be done in the privacy of your own home and it should never be seen in public whatsoever. You can’t even be seen consuming cannabis inside a private lounge. How many times have you walked by a bar and seen somebody drinking a beer? That will not be allowed,” said Ayster.

In a recent article in The Atlantic, staff writer, George Packer, published an essay titled “A Political Obituary for Donald Trump.” The subtitle: “The effects of his reign will linger. But democracy survived.” In the last paragraph, Packer writes that the election didn’t end Trump’s lies and the fissures in American society, “but we learned that we still want democracy.”

Do “we” really, George? And who is that “we”?

Judging on the basis of their unfailing infatuation with Trump, it seems that millions of Americans would rather have autocracy and plutocracy than democracy. Also it’s not clear at this point, a month or so before the inauguration, what parts or aspects of American “democracy” have survived, and how much longer they’ll be around.

Doubtless, effects of Trump’s reign will linger, much as the noxious effects of the reign of Reagan, Bush I, Bush II, Clinton and Obama have lingered. The wrongs those presidents helped to create, have lingered long after they departed office.

There’s no going back to the New Deal of the 1930s and 1940s, though some of my California friends would like that to happen. The New Deal is largely an old deal that needs constant protecting. But let’s protect the WPA murals. Don’t surrender the past.

Just as soon as Nixon left the White House, Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney began to plan their return to power and the return of their own ideas and their own men. They succeeded quite nicely. Trump and his cronies are surely planning their comeback, which would mean preventing millions of Americans from voting.

Maybe 2020 is the last real election in America. Or maybe it marks the start of something new.

Voting is, I know, a crucial part of a democracy, though voting doesn’t guarantee democracy. Millions of Americans who voted for Trump exercised a right they want to take away from other Americans, mostly Black and Brown and Red and maybe Yellow, too. Is that ironic, hypocritical or part of a right-wing conspiracy. You’re either with us or you’re against us. That seems to be the Republican attitude.

Democracy in America has often meant the freedom of white men with property to disenfranchise the descendants of slaves and former slaves, immigrants, refugees and ex-convicts. In many ways the present is an echo of the past, the past merely prologue to the present.

Like preserving wilderness, preserving democracy is, as Angela Davis and others have reminded us “a constant struggle.”

But couldn’t we have a halftime show so we can go into locker rooms, regroup and drink Gatorade or something stronger.

Democracy doesn’t happen — it didn’t happen this fall — without the efforts of grass roots poll watchers, vote counters and citizens who stood up to Trump and the Republicans and would not allow the election to be stolen by force, intimidation and chicanery. Ted Cruz, Rudy Guliani and their ilk are as corrupt and undemocratic as they come.

It seems to me that Biden and Harris will have to combat them and their forces, some of whom work clandestinely. Biden and Harris and their friends and supporters will have to run faster and faster just to keep up, and not be overtaken and buried.

The citizens who “saved” democracy know who they are. They don’t want medals and prizes. They join the millions of slaves and workers, immigrants and refugees who have wanted the same rights that white men of property have enjoyed from the beginning of the American experiment in democracy.

Whether the world is watching us or not, doesn’t really matter, though many Americans seem to think the world is constantly watching them.

I don’t think the American Empire is in its last days, nor do I see fascism American style around the corner. Discussions about “late capitalism” can be fascinating, but I don’t think they inspired the poll watchers and the vote counters who would not be moved by blasts from the White House and from state houses around the country. Shame on you Linsday Graham. Shame on you Ted Cruz. I wouldn’t mind canceling your autocratic culture.

(Jonah Raskin is the author of For The Hell of It: The Life and Times of Abbie Hoffman and American Scream: Allen Ginsberg’s ‘Howl’ and the Making of the Beat Generation.)

* * *


A former police captain who was part of a private citizens group investigating still unsubstantiated 2020 election fraud claims was charged Tuesday with running a man off the road and pointing a gun to his head two weeks before the election, the Harris County district attorney said in a statement.

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* * *


by Dave Zirin

A bomb dropped in the sports world Sunday night when it was announced that the Cleveland Indians, after more than a century, would finally be changing their increasingly problematic name. The news, leaked by three people to The New York Times, is that the move would be announced this week. Their plan is to take 2021 to phase the name out, and then to have a new team moniker by 2022.

The team rid itself of the embarrassing minstrelsy of the Chief Wahoo mascot in 2019 but seemed committed to keeping the name “Indians,” with its caps, instead of being adorned with Chief Wahoo’s beet-red face and toothy grin, just bearing the letter “C.” But the team finally assented to the reality that Native American mascotry is the way of the past, not the future.

Let’s be clear about why this—as well as the recent change to the Washington Football Team’s name—is happening in 2020. This past summer saw the largest and most widespread anti-racist demonstrations in the history of the United States. Touching all 50 states, these demonstrations sent an unmistakable message to corporations, the film industry, the art community, and, of course, the world of sports. The message was that there is a young generation in this country that is more diverse and less tolerant of intolerance.

There is, especially in the sports world, a cutthroat competition for Generation Y dollars, as social media, streaming services, and e-sports have emerged as economic competitors to the “legacy sports” of football, basketball, and particularly baseball, which has the oldest fan base of them all. Major League Baseball is now on the hunt for ways to not age out of existence. Already MLB is constantly critiqued for its “unwritten rules” against exuberance, bat flipping, and what the younger generation refers to as “fun.” Racist branding isn’t the way to connect, and its marketeers know it.

In addition, this generation is acutely aware that young Native activists have put the question of mascoting at the heart of struggles for land rights and economic justice. Their argument—backed by the American Psychiatric Association—is that mascoting hurts Native children. They make the case that if a human being can be mascoted by the dominant society, it becomes that much easier to ignore their actual, real-life oppression. When you couple that with pressure from sponsors who don’t want to be associated with 19th century branding, it means that it was only a matter of time before the “Indians” name was going to go the way of the horse and buggy.

I reached out to Jacqueline Keeler, a Dakota/Diné journalist and activist based in Portland, Ore., cocreator of the hashtag NotYourMascot, and author of the new book Standoff: Standing Rock, the Bundy Movement, and the American Story of Sacred Lands. She said, “I never thought this day would come. Folks often ask what’s wrong with calling our team the ‘Indians’? Indeed, it may seem at first glance as less offensive than the grotesque Chief Wahoo. But they don’t reckon with the stereotypes the usage promotes. They were calling themselves ‘the Tribe’ to the exclusion of any knowledge of actual existing Native nations in this country. It is yet another way of denying or sublimating our continued existence. While Wahoo traded in racist caricature, ‘Tribe’ misappropriates the known political reality of our respective nations. Of which, 574 are officially recognized by the federal government and are supposed to enjoy nation-to-nation relations with the United States.

“This denial of our political reality not only disappear us but is a manifestation of the real need to change the unfair relationship between Indigenous people and our colonizers and the ongoing occupation of our lands. Of course, Ohio was where the Shawnee Chief Tecumseh had his last stand at Fallen Timbers and brought the tribes together to fight the westward expansion into their lands. The Shawnee leader was defeated, and now his people, and other Indigenous nations like the Miami and Seneca, were entirely removed from Ohio. It took the Termination Act in the 1950s to change this. Termination was an attempt by Congress to end the existence of tribes politically, and the Relocation Act, which sought to depopulate reservations by relocating Native young people to urban centers. This was how 20,000 young Native people came to be in Cleveland in the 1960s and how they began organizing to get rid of Wahoo and the mascotry.”

Of course, the haters are decrying the move, saying that this is a capitulation to “political correctness.” President Donald Trump, who is a racist, tweeted, “Oh no! What is going on? This is not good news, even for ‘Indians’. Cancel culture at work!” But dead-enders like Trump are increasingly shouting into prevailing winds that are whipping in the other direction. Teams like the Chicago Blackhawks and Kansas City Chiefs are saying that they have no intentions or plans to change their names. Those, as embittered Washington football team franchise owner Daniel Snyder can tell you, could become famous last words.

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* * *


by Barry Melton

I’m too young to remember it but I was in Peekskill (NY) when the Klan drove my parents and I out of that Pete Seeger concert (1952). My parents were on the left wing. My dad was a friend of Paul Robeson’s. I celebrated my tenth birthday at a Paul Robeson concert. We were neighbors with Woody Guthrie and his family. I went to Marge Guthrie’s dance school when I was a kid. I’m a child of the left; I think the polite term is “red diaper baby.” My dad was a part of the human body guard that protected Paul Robeson when they went back (to Peekskill) the second time.

My parents raised me to be a left wing guitar player. My father was hopeful that I would sing at the union hall and protest. They were radicals - 1930’s radicals living into the 50’s and 60’s.

We lived in a small left wing community in Brighton Beach, NY. I remember Jack Elliott from my childhood, I think my mom gave him his first job at the Brighton Beach PTA. This was before McCarthy in the 50’s. I remember when we moved to the west coast and Trudy Asch (daughter of Mo) moved in next door. Mo ran Folkways Records. It was a small community of people who all knew each other.

* * *

"Are we almost there?"

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The depressing thing is that most people don’t WANT to think. Because to do so requires effort, persistence, discomfort, juggling paradoxes, solving puzzles. Much easier to receive the consensus thoughts of others. That way lies comfort. History teaches us, in many ways, the overwhelming human weakness for mental inertia, cowardice, and conformity. Anyone who thinks differently is automatically dangerous because it disrupts, even a bit, the comforting paradigmatic lies they’ve told themselves all their lives.

* * *



I am outraged that Washington politicians may head home for the holidays without passing any new COVID relief. For millions of Americans, this holiday season is looking like a nightmare.

Millions of families are struggling to put food on the table, and 12 million renters are under threat of eviction when the Centers for Disease Control’s eviction moratorium ends on Dec. 31. These renters are behind in rent an average of $5,400, causing economic hardship for them and their landlords.

Some lawmakers have a bipartisan plan to provide food and rental assistance for the next few months, but Senate leaders are blocking it. They seem content to let countless Americans fall into financial ruin and homelessness in the middle of a global pandemic.

Congress must not leave Washington without taking action. They must pass a COVID bill now that includes food assistance, emergency rental assistance and an extension of the CDC eviction moratorium.

Dan Fogarty

Santa Rosa

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The Mendocino County Office of Education (MCOE) has expanded its offerings to assist community members interested in obtaining a teaching credential. Through its Adult Learning Center, MCOE has brokered agreements with adjacent counties and accredited universities to increase access to teacher credentialing programs here in Mendocino County. 

MCOE will serve as a hub to coordinate registration and scholarships for qualified applicants. Currently, the following credential programs are available: mild-to-moderate special education, moderate-to-severe special education, single-subject (typically used for secondary school), and multi-subject (typically used for elementary school). Eventually, the plan is to expand access to training for the whole educational continuum: daycare providers, preschool teachers, classroom aides, substitute teachers, K-12 teachers of all descriptions, and K-12 administrators, according to Assistant Superintendent Kim Kern. 

Right now, a moderate-to-severe special education credential cohort is forming that begins instruction in January. The deadline to register for this cohort is December 16. Interested parties can learn more about this and all MCOE adult education programs by calling Tami Mee, MCOE Adult Programs Manager, at (707) 467-5133 or via email at 

Kern said, “Districts throughout the county are looking for motivated, compassionate, well-trained teachers, so we’re using our resources to facilitate the process.” 

(MCOE Presser)

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* * *


Although the roof is just a story high,
It dizzies me a little to look down.
I lariat-twirl the cord of Christmas lights
And cast it to the weeping birch’s crown;
A dowel into which I’ve screwed a hook
Enables me to reach, lift, drape, and twine
The cord among the boughs so that the bulbs
Will accent the tree’s elegant design.

Friends, passing home from work or shopping, pause
And call up commendations or critiques.
I make adjustments. Though a potpourri
Of Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Jews, and Sikhs,
We all are conscious of the time of year;
We all enjoy its colorful displays
And keep some festival that mitigates
The dwindling warmth and compass of the days.

Some say that L.A. doesn’t suit the Yule,
But UPS vans now like magi make
Their present-laden rounds, while fallen leaves
Are gaily resurrected in their wake;                           
The desert lifts a full moon from the east
And issues a dry Santa Ana breeze,
And valets at chic restaurants will soon
Be tending flocks of cars and SUVs.

And as the neighborhoods sink into dusk
The fan palms scattered all across town stand
More calmly prominent, and this place seems
A vast oasis in the Holy Land.
This house might be a caravansary,
The tree a kind of cordial fountainhead
Of welcome, looped and decked with necklaces
And ceintures of green, yellow, blue, and red.

Some wonder if the star of Bethlehem
Occurred when Jupiter and Saturn crossed;
It’s comforting to look up from this roof
And feel that, while all changes, nothing’s lost,
To recollect that in antiquity
The winter solstice fell in Capricorn
And that, in the Orion Nebula,
From swirling gas, new stars are being born.

— Timothy Steele


  1. George Hollister December 16, 2020

    So does it mean we are headed for an investigation of the Joe Biden campaign for colluding with mass media to win the election? Will this mean impeachment hearings will follow? Will George Bush #1 tell us from the grave that, “Joe Biden was elected by the NYT”?

    Of course not, but it appears there would be more substance to this supposed collusion theory than the last one.

  2. Lazarus December 16, 2020

    “PUBLIC EXPRESSION: Jonathan Davis singing ‘Gonna Take a Lot of Love’ by Neil Young.”

    Yea, that singing deal was ridiculous, but so Measure B.
    But what got my attention was, just when Sup. Haschak and Tom Allman were getting heated up about Allman’s Training Center, there was a blank in the audio…imagine that…censored or what?
    Be Swell,

    • Marmon December 16, 2020

      what are you watching Laz?

  3. Lazarus December 16, 2020

    11/18/2020 Measure B Audio only…

    Be well,

  4. Marmon December 16, 2020

    So Biden has selected Mayor Pete to head up the Department of Transportation, I suppose Cal-trans will take on a whole different meaning. Maybe special lanes?

  5. Malcolm Macdonald December 16, 2020

    Al Capone lived only seven years and approximately two months after his release from prison. He supposedly spent that time greatly diminished from the effects of syphilis.

  6. Professor Cosmos December 17, 2020

    John Brennan was interviewed a couple of days ago and he did get the Big Question. His answer might need a translation, which i will offer for this:
    “But I think some of the phenomena we’re going to be seeing continues to be unexplained and might, in fact, be some type of phenomenon that is the result of something that we don’t yet understand and that could involve some type of activity that some might say constitutes a different form of life.”
    We have extraterrestrial visitors.
    2 Intelligence reports have been made by the US Navy’s new interagency UAP task force in an attempt to address recent events, including a massive triangle shooting out of the ocean and ascending at 90 degrees up and up (intel report for 2019 referenced film of this from f18 pilots).
    (Original reporting by Tim McMillan on new platform at and includes a high ranking AF general on the record and multiple anonymous sources.)

    2021 might get really interesting. But, dont hold your breath hoping for transparency and an end to the coverup via official disclosure. A 1994 case from Ruwa, Zimbabwe at the Ariel Elementary School will likely be the spear point engineering widespread realization of et visitation.

    BTW, the language used in the Intel reports to note the hypothesis under consideration for these revent events witnessed by the military were “unknown intelligences” of “non-human origin”.

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