Press "Enter" to skip to content

Mendocino County Today: December 25, 2020

Windy Rain | Inmate Outbreak | Storm Coming | Shooting/Collision | Christmas 2020 | Whereas McCowen | Thunder Justice | Yorkville Break | Als Talmage | Mediterranean Ports | Boonville Methodist | Ed Notes | Ass Stickers | Loyal Subscriber | Child Abuse | Ansel Mendo | Leftist Weekly | Broken Bridge | Fewer Abortions | Party On | Yesterday's Catch | Pathetic Bill | No Picnic | Sad Ornament | Uncle Ted | Xmas 63 | Britches Backlash | Crazy Money | Winter Castle | Republican Legacy | Child Possessed

* * *

WINDY AND RAINY conditions are expected today. Significant snowfall is also expected for northeast Trinity County above 2500 to 3500 feet. Showers and isolated thunderstorms tonight through Saturday morning may also produce brief heavy rain for the North Coast. Dry weather returns Saturday afternoon and evening, followed by a chance for rain on Sunday in the southern portions of the forecast area. (NWS)

* * *


In a continued effort to identify and contain COVID-19 cases in the Mendocino County Jail, on-site medical staff resumed testing of inmates in quarantined areas of the jail on Thursday. As of Thursday, 17 inmates have been identified as having positive test results. The inmates in these specific areas have been placed on quarantine to prevent any spread into unaffected areas of the jail. During the quarantine period, jail medical staff will be monitoring the health of the affected inmates. Further testing will be completed throughout the weekend until all persons housed within the facility are tested as part of our continued effort to keep the staff and residents of the Mendocino County Jail safe.

(County Jail Supervisor Lt. John Bednar.)

* * *

BALMY CHRISTMAS EVE (storm coming in)

(photo by Dick Whetstone)

* * *


On Thursday, December 24, 2020 at approximately 6:30 AM Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched to a reported traffic collision with a fatality in Caspar. During the initial scene investigation it was determined a shooting had occurred in the city of Fort Bragg which soon thereafter resulted in the traffic collision fatality in Caspar. Sheriff’s Detectives were summoned to the scene and are conducting follow-up investigations, which are still ongoing at this time. Sheriff’s Detectives are working with the Fort Bragg Police Department, California Highway Patrol, Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office, California Department of Fish & Wildlife and California Department of Justice Criminalist Division. A press release will made public when more information becomes available at the conclusion of the investigation.

* * *

* * *


by Mark Scaramella

We would be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge Supervisor John McCowen’s final board meeting on December 15, 2020.

Appearing via zoom at the Tuesday Board meeting, Mendo’s alleged state reps, Senator Mike McGuire and Assemblyman James Wood, offered conventional bland approval of McCowen and fellow retiring Supervisor Carre Brown.

Brown had received her own public going away gift when she was “honored” earlier in the month by the State’s Rural Counties Association and a farewell tribute by unofficial county press rep Karen Rifkin who technically writes “for the Ukiah Daily Journal.” 

McCowen didn’t get any of that, just the disembodied comments from fellow pols who obviously don’t pay much attention to the quotidian goings on in Mendocino County. 

The praise offered for McCowen’s 12 years on the Board was not exactly effusive, but the garrulous son of Ukiah did get those rote zooms from Healdsburg's dynamic duo, Wood and McGuire. Congressman Huffman also checked in with a pre-recorded Adios. McGuire cited McCowen’s “hard work and dedication” but offered no specifics besides McCowen's non-supervisorial river clean up efforts.

Fellow Supervisor Dan Gjerde roused himself from his usual silence to cite McCowen’s tenure back before Gjerde's taking a seat on the Board when McCowen and his fellow Board members were tasked with signing off on CEO Angelo’s many budget cutting measures in the aftermath of the Great Recession.

At that time McCowen also lead the charge to reform Mendo’s “Teeter Plan” (mis-)accounting which had accrued a large deficit as Mendo’s crack budget team didn’t put the property tax penalties and interest back into the fund, instead using it as a budget balancing slush fund. 

Leveraging the fine reporting of then-Willits News Editor Linda Williams, McCowen also helped expose the related Whitewater-style scam that arose whereby repeatedly foreclosed-on unbuildable Brooktrails lots were creating a large backlog of unpaid back taxes and penalties and interest.

McCowen was also one of the three sitting Supes in those days to take a voluntary 10% pay cut. McCowen, to his eternal credit, didn’t like having defend the pay and hour cuts the Board and the CEO were imposing on County staff while then-Supervisors David Colfax and Kendall Smith steadfastly refused to reduce their own salaries and benefits while chiseling on their travel allowances as noted by the Grand Jury.

In what to us was McCowen’s finest hour, back when Supervisors were allowed to put their own items on their meeting agendas without approval from the CEO, McCowen had staff prepare five salary and benefits summaries for the five sitting Supervisors, including the pay and benefits of the famously irritable and salary-obsessed fifth district Supervisor David Colfax.

When the item came up for discussion, Colfax erupted into an even frothier version of his standard streams of invective, attributing McCowen’s simple budget-related agenda item as a cat’s paw by Colfax’s perceived enemies: The Ukiah Daily Journal, the Grand Jury and (indirectly) yours truly.

Colfax: “The problem I have is once again joining with the Ukiah Daily Journal and certain segments in the County that are fascinated, intrigued by the abuses, perceived or otherwise, including the Grand Jury in that at the very top of the list. I am sick and tired of taking CRAP from these people and these organizations! And for you to come on the board after, what is it, eight and a half months now? And to join in that kind of fascination with this is just filthy. I agree with you if you have genuine interest in this. Rather than grandstanding your willingness to give up, oh, five, ten, fifteen, twenty percent of your salary for which you have made no effort to make sure that this board is adequately compensated for the work that members of it do, and we do earn our money. But perhaps your circumstances are different from other people's circumstances so it's really a bit petty, a bit of a pet peeve of a concern in my opinion, of having made no effort as a Supervisor to get increased compensation. I ran on a platform eleven years ago saying we need to increase the compensation of members of the board of supervisors. And that has been opposed by some of the worst elements in this community for all those years. Now, bottom line, and my reason for raising this, the clerk of the board has done a good job of presenting this information. I'm requesting the CEO's office, since Mr. McCowen has made this request of our Clerk to do this, I want to see the exact same document for each and every member earning more than members of the Board of Supervisors. By name! Now, do you have any problem with that? [Silence.] Sure you do! Because we're not going to put names on it. We're going to have positions. But when you go down and you start talking about the great benefit that I have for my, uh, for paying contributions, uh, to pay for my contribution to employers insurance of $11,000 which takes my money up to a certain level, that's not my income, that's the county's charge of doing business, the cost of doing business! So some of these numbers are not accurate, they are not more accurate, Supervisor McCowen. They are misleading. But I will accept the fact that there's a format that's been presented and is now part of a public document that has me just absolutely outraged! That addresses five members of the Board of Supervisors. But it somehow is not addressed to the people who in my opinion, and this is not my 60th birthday, by the way, so I can take off a few weeks. But it infuriates me that this would go forward without any effort made to run it by, and to do so in the name of members of the Board of Supervisors. One supervisor apparently requested this. And yet it has real implications for this whole organization. Make sure we get it out there and quickly in the same format for those who in my opinion are grossly overpaid in this organization. And it's not the members of the board of supervisors! So I think that it's a pet peeve [shaking angrily]. I'd rather see you work in behalf of advancing the interest of the members of the Board of Supervisors. Moving us up to below the median salary for this organization. To perhaps just what the ordinary employee in this organization gets. Then I would have more respect for your fascination with this. Frankly, I consider this another element of the grandstanding you've done since being on this board with these items, and I don't, if this is taken as personal, and overreactive, I've had too much of an investment in this organization and wasted too damn much time bickering over a crappy salary connected to a not terribly rewarding job. … I don't like having my contribution to workmen's compensation added into the line item about [illegible] out of this organization. That's not what it's all about at all! It's what I see in my paycheck. It's not terribly, terribly exciting to put it very mildly.”

It wasn’t long after his rambling righteousness that Supervisor Colfax, having accomplished nothing in 12 years on the Board besides raising his own salary and defending it against the likes of the Grand Jury, et al, realized he’d probably made himself un-re-electable, and announced his retirement from the Board of Supervisors. Thus demonstrating the power and importance of Supervisors being able to put their own items on the Board’s agenda.

And for that, we salute Supervisor McCowen. (Setting aside McCowen’s unfortunate lead role in the failed pot permit program which he belatedly abandoned.)

Supervisor McCowen also gets praise from here for what was NOT offered on his final day as Supervisor. Nobody prepared the pro-forma whereas-riddled Proclamation for Supervisor McCowen, which means he was probably not well-liked by CEO Angelo and her cowed staff — a clear accolade for McCowen, since being Supervisor is not supposed to be a popularity contest (except maybe every four years). In fact, CEO Angelo said absolutely nothing during the entire send offs of McCowen and fellow outgoing Supervisor Carre Brown.

One wonders at the protocol thinking for the McCowen-Carre Brown departures. Carre Brown gets an entire County-sponsored farewell article in Mendo’s only daily paper and probably an upcoming Farm-Bureau sponsored ceremony of her own.

But McCowen, being in disfavor with Ms. Angelo for occasionally trying to hold her to account on her unfulfulled promises, and also being a man, and Carre being not only a woman but never one to question the CEO's Agenda, whatever it might be, so long as it didn't jeopardize Potter Valley's eternal access to cheap water, it simply wouldn't do to Whereas Carre Brown with John McCowen sitting right there and not getting at least one Whereas.

While we would take such a snub as a positive, CEO Angelo’s refusal to offer even an insincere “We enjoyed working with you” for either of them was a final insult from the famously ill-tempered CEO, but a tribute to McCowen's conscientious, if sometimes errant, years as a supervisor.

* * *

THUNDER THE WONDER DOG’S RESCUER AND NEW OWNER Consider Abuser’s Punishment a “Slap on the Wrist”, Banking on the Appeal for Justice

Just over a year ago, an injured, emaciated German Shepherd imprisoned in a plastic cone emerged from the woods of Mendocino County and entered the hearts and minds of the public. The dog who later came to be known as “Thunder the Wonder Dog” grew a global network of supporters who sat in wait for justice against his former owner. Last week, Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Clay Brennan sentenced Thunder’s abuser to a year probation and community service.

* * *

YORKVILLE MARKET: Winter Hours & Updates

Merry Christmas!

We will be closing for our winter break starting tomorrow, 12/25 and will not re-open until mid-January.

Wishing you all a happy holiday, and a joyous end to 2020!

Best wishes,

Lisa at the Yorkville Market

* * *

Als, Talmage Road, Ukiah

* * *



A trip to the Med: After five or six days eastward from New York, one morning standing on the fore-deck, I saw a hump ahead. It was green. It was an island. Inasmuch as I knew the direction and the time it had to be one of the Azore Islands. I had no idea what we were doing here. We pulled into a little cove. A small dock, a small shed, a couple of men to take the mooring lines, a path leading up a steep hill. Nothing more. Obviously we were expected. As a tourist seaman, when the gangway was lowered I jumped ashore and scrambled up the path which was only a couple of feet wide. At the top of the hill I saw a few stone buildings, a stone church, no people, no vehicles. While I was gone #3 hatch was opened and two pallets emerged with a bunch of mail sacks labeled "US Mail," just delivering the snail mail. We were only in port for about 20 minutes. I don't know the name of the island.

A couple of days later approaching Gibralter it was my trick at the wheel. I said to the mate, "I can't seem to keep this expletive on course." He said, "Not to worry. Whenever a small opening from the sea occurs, the currents go crazy."

I had been through the Straits of Gibraltar couple of times before but never in the daytime. Now here was my chance to see the Prudential Insurance Company’s Rock of Gibraltar. It’s a rock alright, but slathered in cement, apparently to collect rainwater. If you want to see what The Rock looks like in pictures you have to go around behind it.

A couple of days later we pulled into Tunis. The port for Tunis is out in the country. There is a light rail train to Tunis one way and to Carthage the other. Tunis’s downtown is a beautiful French colonial city looking like Wilshire Boulevard. 

I had read about Carthage, but I didn't know where it was located. So while the Arabs were shuttling corn into gunnysacks in the lower holds, I took the train to see what Carthage looks like after 2000 years. At the Carthage station there was a convenience store. That's all. Carthage was on top of a hill overlooking the sea. Nobody around. Roman columns, etc. A Roman theater was built into the hillside pretty much intact. 

Next port, Tel Aviv. The Captain put up a notice saying: Don't tell the Jews we came from an Arab port or they won't let us discharge cargo. Israel is a pretty dull place if you are not a Jew. Good beer though.

Next, on to Turkey to load pistachio nuts. Then we arrived in Cyprus in the part of the country that Jonathan Franzen wrote about in the New Yorker a few years ago. Evidently there was a military base nearby as we had the contents of an American grocery store to discharge. We were discharging into lighters. They had to keep the Greeks and Turks separated, so the Turks were running the lighters and the Greeks were working the cargo in the hold. We watched them open the grocery boxes to see what they could find to eat. They didn't like the peanut butter, but they ate great handfuls of cornflakes. Once they found a way to open cans of tuna fish, they loved it. 

You find out where you are going to load cargo before you start back. There are a lot of ports in the Mediterranean so it could be anywhere. That's what's good about this run. No two trips are alike. We stopped in Italy, Spain and Portugal on the return.

Ralph Bostrom


PS. Here's a little project for Marquess: Determine what the 74 million gringos who voted for Donald Trump have in common: one, two, three, four, five.

PPS. Here's a little project for the Editor and Publisher: behold a list below of authors I have read. Those with asterisks are the ones I like best. Write down the ten authors you like best. Keep it a secret if you like.

Edward Abbey, James Agee, Nelson Algren, Sherwood Anderson, Henry Adams, Stephen Ambrose, Saul Bellow, Ambrose Bierce, James Boswell, William Burroughs, Bill Bryson*, Taylor Branch, Erskine Caldwell, Truman Capote, Willa Cather, Joseph Conrad*, Malcolm Cowley, Stephen Crane, Robert Caro*, Bernard DeVoto*, Charles Dickens*, John Dos Passos, William O. Douglas, Scott Fitzgerald, Thomas Frank, Gabrielle Garcia Marquez*, Doris K. Goodwin, Peter Hessler*, Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, Jack Kerouac, T.E. Lawrence, Meriwether Lewis, Oscar Lewis*, Jack London, Thomas Mann, Norman Mailer, John McPhee*, Herman Melville, Henry Miller, V.S. Naipul, George Orwell*, William Prescott, Annie Proulx*, J.D. Salinger, Upton Sinclair, Robert L. Stevenson, Irving Stone, Wallace Stegner, Anthony Trollope, Mark Twain, John Updike, Gore Vidal, E.B. White, Nathaniel West, Thomas Wolfe, Paul Theroux*.

Ed note: Who's Peter Hessler? DeVoto? Your age is showing, Ralph. 

* * *

Boonville Methodist Church

* * *


INTERESTING ITEM posted recently by freshly elected supervisor, Mo Mulherren, a resident of Ukiah about a famous Ukiah brothel called Madge's that flourished in the county seat in the first quarter of the 20th century. Madge's business was so essential to Mendo male morale that a memorial plaque was affixed to the front of the building where it was once housed, a convenient one block from the County Courthouse. Madge is even commemorated in “Boontling, An American Lingo” by Charles C. Adams as two parts of boontling speech — “madge n. A prostitute,” and madge v. “madgin' to uke,” as in going over the hill to Madge's place in Ukiah.

TAKE IT AWAY, MO: "Where there’s a will there’s a way. Many people have asked me where “The ladies of the night” plaque went. It was removed. The peace pole has returned and the community now has the plaque back. I’ll be reaching out to the City Manager and the Historical Society to ask that it be placed in a public location so that change of ownership or other private property challenges don’t come up in the future. This was not related to the Streetscape project and I just want to empathize with the community that all that we have gone through this year, this was a sudden shock. I’m glad that it was retrieved and I look forward to finding a new location for it."

SUSPICIONS CONFIRMED. A Samsung poll reveals that our attention spans have dropped from 12 seconds to eight since 2000 and our song skipping culture has emerged on streaming services like Spotify where, I guess, the new 8-second generation can flit from one "song" to the next faster than Ben Bolt can run the hundred.

ANYWAY, isn't there just one lyric these days? A one and a two, "Oh baby, baby, baby, baby oh baby, baby baby oh." 

AS A PERSON shuffling as fast as he can to stay a step ahead of the Reaper, I'm not particularly eager to get a covid shot, I mean I'm not so eager as to wonder when it will reach Boonville, although when it does I'll get jabbed if for no other reason than to protect my family and my fellow Americans, even Trump voters who, like dogs, have to be vaccinated for their own protection. But I still hope the one-shot vaccination by Johnson & Johnson reaches the outback before the others, which are two-shots, the first shot and then the necessary booster. With the anti-vaxxers busily circulating so much misinformation against covid-prevention, and having effectively persuaded so many of US to return to medieval voodoo, I wonder if enough of US will get covid-proofed to protect the whole herd of US.

INTERESTING LOOK BACK at the Dope Wars of the early '80s by Matt LaFever writing for HumCo crucial on-line newspaper, Redheaded Blackbelt, produced daily by the indomitable Kym Kemp (and his own The Sheriff at the time, Tom Jondahl, probably reflected majority popular opinion in his hostility to marijuana, declaring it was so dangerous to the young that eradicating it amounted to “saving” the young.

THE SHERIFF had a point. What parent in his or her right mind wants their kid to light up regularly before his brain is fully formed? Look around. Thanatoids coming in the windows.

IF JONDAHL is still with us, I'm sure he's duly horrified that drugs of all kinds are now simply a matter of choice, so readily available that a young person either decides to do it or not do it, and most parents hope their heirs and assignees won't do it, but choice is what it's come to.

FEVE'S story carried me back along Memory Lane when mom and pop growers lived in dread of two cops, Bill Stewart and Doug Silva, descending on hippie growers to not only arrest them but also tearing up their humble habitations and water lines. These two preceded the annual CAMP (Campaign Against Marijuana Production) and, in Southern Humboldt, a full-on military invasion of pot gardens before the authorities finally grasped the obvious — thousands of Northcoast people were growing the love drug and millions were smoking it, including most lawyers when they weren't snorting cocaine. Fast forward to 2020 and right here in Boonville, overlooking the junction of 128 and 253, an industrial grow sits in plain view, electronic gate and all. But for years prior to partial legalization, the annual eradication effort accomplished nothing more than keeping prices attractively high, the cops functioning as a kind of price stabilization unit.

THE DREAD STEWART was murdered by dopers in Oklahoma at the age of 42 where outlaws are apparently much more ruthless than Mendo's hill muffins. Some of the local muffs talked tough about Stewart and Silva but I'd be surprised if they were ever in the kind of danger that's out there in the hills these days.

* * *

* * *



Enclosed is a small address change stemming from the “whack a mole” system of dealing with covid 19 adopted by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation which has resulted in my eviction from my "happy home" of almost 7 1/2 years.

Even though I have undergone 12 tests for covid 19 and had been found negative each time, I have been placed with three other perennial negatives in a cell with four other individuals would just left the ISO ward that once was our gymnasium.

The protocols for restriction of movement and isolation policies have been modified at least half a dozen times since May. Inmates testing positive are not tested again for 90 days. The rest of us can expect to be swabbed every two weeks -- once it was twice in four days.

I've had less than one hour of "yard time" in the past 15 days. Well this is not summer camp, is it? Never was.

Now to some comments about your paper: 

First, thanks for the break from Philbrick. But why do you let his bro-in-law or whomever "Old and Angry" may be, vent his considerable spleen whenever he likes without signing his "work" with his (or her) real name? It's like the always anonymous "online comment of the week." Unsigned opinion should be round-filed.

Aside to the author of comment number [4] in the December 9 issue: If you think the Israeli "green wall" to exclude and subjugate Palestinian citizens is an example of a policy "that works," then your definition of the work and mine are at odds.

Start calling them "class ads" again!

One of the many reasons I became the "loyal subscriber" that I am (I chose this moniker as a rebuke to all my fellow "insiders" always importuning you for free subs) was that I longed to relocate to your lovely valley which I have visited (I'm from Vallejo) and I wanted to keep abreast of the availability of the "perfect" (for me) little cottages and cabins for rent once found in the "Class Ads." I see that these are no more and I suppose we have AirBnB to blame. It now appears that I shall have to lower my standards and seek shelter in Lake County where my brother lives should I ever regain my freedom.

By the way: why is the divide between Lake and Mendocino counties called "The Cow"?

It has been a long time since I've written to you and I likely have forgotten half a dozen things I told myself I must write to you about. Maybe I will recall some of them before I'm forced to send you yet another address change because the absolute fact is that I could be told to pack up everything I own and move at a moment’s notice which has always been my least favorite thing about prison.

Two last questions: What's become of the always effervescent Diana Vance?! Have you ever read "The Match," the formerly really anarchistic quarterly out of Tucson, Arizona?


David “Loyal Subscriber” Bullock 


Ed Note: The Match? Yeah, nifty little publication. Always interesting.

* * *


On Monday, December 21, 2020 at about 12:00 PM Child Protective Services (CPS) contacted the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office about a possible child abuse situation that had taken place the previous week in Covelo.

Deputies were advised the child was a 4 year-old female who had numerous visible bruises on her body, and had been treated at a local hospital due to her injuries.

The Deputy conducted numerous interviews and learned the 4 year-old child had defecated on the floor at a residence in Covelo which upset the mother, Samantha Dildine, 24, of Covelo who struck the child with a wooden branch causing the visible injuries.

Samantha Dildine

Dildine was subsequently arrested and transported to the Mendocino County Jail for inflicting injury to a child.

In accordance with the COVID-19 emergency order issued by the State of California Judicial Council, bail was set at zero dollars for Dildine and she would have been released after the jail booking process.

The Deputy conducting the investigation contacted a Mendocino County Judge who authorized a bail enhancement to $25,000 and an Emergency Protective Order (EPO) to protect the child.

The Deputy and a CPS social worker conducted follow-up investigations and determined there were two other children living at the residence in Covelo.

The follow-up investigations showed there was a 1 year-old female child and 3 year-old female child at the residence that had similar injuries on their bodies.

The Deputy contacted a Mendocino County Judge and obtained an EPO to also protect these children. All three children where placed into protective housing by CPS.

* * *

Ansel Adams, Mendocino, 1960

* * *



It's a well-known fact among local cognoscenti that before they send in their $50 for another year of the Anderson Valley Advertiser, editor and publisher Bruce Anderson's doctor records, exercise regime, and diet are carefully perused. Once the records are obtained and his wife Ling verifies that his diet is still healthy and the game cams outside Boonville are analyzed to check the Editor’s pace on his daily jaunts in the hills.

When our inside informants (especially one code-named "Scary Mellow") have been consulted, the numbers crunched and medical reports gone through, only then will AVA fans reach into their collective pockets and fork over another $50, assured that the former "Beast of Boonville," now kindly Pussycat Grandpa, will indeed be expected to live another year seemingly endlessly producing what may be the last great leftist weekly in the United States of America.

Paul Modic


* * *

Big River, Broken Bridge

* * *

226,000 A DAY


It looks like we're going to have a Democratic administration for a change. So I'd like to take this opportunity to congratulate all the pro-lifers and anti-abortionists on their victory. They can now look forward to a period of fewer abortions worldwide. Ever since the Reagan administration, the Democrats have reduced the number of abortions while the Republicans have caused then to increase by cutting funding to international women's clinics, leaving families without birth control. The result is more back alley abortions and more unplanned, unwanted and hungry children.

Fortunately, the Democrats will restore funding to international women's clinics which will result not only in fewer abortions but a slight drop in the 226,000 people who are added to the world population every day. That 226,000 number is not a typo, but is calculated after everyone who died last night has been replaced.

So thank you for your victory since overpopulation is the root of almost every environmental problem.

Don Phillips


* * *



Right on with the praise, Pebs!

Challenges with this year’s outdoor crop. It's over-bred for one. The industry has been operating on theoretical THC for some years now. Flowers like Mochi or Fudge are all but unspeakable/unsmokeable with the desired effects slouching off or worse. After so many generations of being up-bred they are getting lost in the translation.

Gorilla Glue #4 (now 664 for copyright/trademark reasons) is a variety that appeared a couple of years back. I call it the first straight to oil strain. Buds have become only one method of ingestion and one that is being eclipsed left and right by disposable vape oil pens and everything else.

Also, this year's outdoor crop has been compromised by the fires.

There is still much tasty stuff here in San Francisco though: beautiful little chocolates (calamansi!) from a Filipino place on 18th Street in the Castro. The Mezz at Beit Rima on Church is like walking bodily down into a den of dead wild oregano. And that's before you open the lid! The $25 martadella sandwich or $35 pizza at Chez Fico — shaggy romaine dandelion greens from Clement Street farmers markets.

It's difficult to be down amidst all that nosh.

Party on.

Snecky Svenia/Tom ‘Taking Dummy’ Daley

San Francisco

PS. Outgoing FLOTUS Malania Trump is a Slovene, not a Slovak!

* * *

CATCH OF THE DAY, December 24, 2020

Cavervo, Dildine, Jeppesen, Kowalsky


SAMANTHA DILDINE, Covelo. Child endangerment/cruelty. 

JOHNATHAN JEPPESEN, Huntington Beach/Ukiah. Stalking & threatening bodily injury.

DANIEL KOWALSKY Ukiah. Controlled substance, failure to appear, probation revocation.

Lucero, Maciel, Owens

ARNULFO LUCERO, Hopland. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

RAMON MACIEL, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent flyer.)

WILLIAM OWENS, Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation revocation.

Peterson, Starnes, Thomas

KYLEE PETERSEN, Ukiah. Taking vehicle without owner’s permission, probation revocation.

KEVIN STARNES, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

ANTONIO THOMAS, Chico/Ukiah. Vandalism.

Vasquez, Vincent, Zara

ADAM VASQUEZ, Hopland. Burglary, resisting, probation revocation.

LYLE VINCENT III, Ukiah. Domestic battery, domesic abuse, child endangerment/cruelty.

JOSE ZARA-QUINTERO, Ukiah. Possession of obscene matter of minor in sexual act.

* * *


The Growing Gap

by Kenny Stancil

Reflecting on the roughly $900 billion coronavirus relief package that he called "pathetic" for its obscene giveaways to the wealthy and meager assistance for the working class, Sen. Bernie Sanders on Tuesday warned of devastating consequences for the United States if Democrats continue capitulating to the GOP's efforts to impose austerity in the midst of an ongoing public health emergency and massive economic crisis.

"The fundamental political question of our time is: are we going to allow Mitch McConnell, the Republican Party, and corporate America to return us to austerity politics, or are we going to build a dynamic economy that works for everyone?" —Sen. Sanders

The democratic socialist from Vermont acknowledged in an email to supporters that the Covid-19 relief bill provides a non-retroactive $300-per-week federal boost to unemployment insurance and extends those benefits through March. The legislation also allocates funding for schools, child care, broadband, food and housing aid, vaccine distribution, and—thanks to the efforts of progressive lawmakers and organizations—includes a $600 direct payment to many Americans.

Nevertheless, and reiterating what economists have stressed for weeks, Sanders said that "given the enormous economic desperation that so many working families are now experiencing, it is nowhere near enough as to what is needed."

In light of President-elect Biden's Sunday night statement applauding the bipartisan agreement as "a model for the challenging work ahead for our nation," Sanders expressed fear that "by reaching this agreement, we are setting a bad precedent and setting the stage for a return to austerity politics now that Joe Biden is set to take office."

Sanders summarized pandemic-related legislative efforts since May:

The House passed a $3.4 trillion HEROES Act, which was a very serious effort to address the enormous health and economic crises facing our country. Two months later, the House passed another version of that bill for $2.2 trillion.

That same month, Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell proposed a $1.1 trillion piece of legislation that included a $1,200 direct payment for every working class American.

Months later, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, negotiating on behalf of President Donald Trump, proposed a Covid relief plan with Speaker Pelosi for $1.8 trillion that also included a $1,200 direct payment.

And yet, after months of bipartisan negotiations by the so-called Gang of 8, we ended up with a bill of just $908 billion that includes $560 billion in unused money from the previously passed CARES Act—a worse deal than was previously proposed by Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump.

So we went from $3.4 trillion, to $2.2 trillion, to $1.8 trillion from Trump and $1.1 trillion from Mitch McConnell to just $348 billion in new money—roughly 10% of what Democrats thought was originally needed and half of what Trump and McConnell offered in direct payments.

"This is not good negotiating," the senator said. "This is a collapse."

Once Biden's victory in the presidential election became clear, Sanders added, "we started to hear a lot of talk from my Senate colleagues in the Republican Party about their old friend the deficit."

Direct payments of $1,200 to every working-class American and $500 for their children, fiscal aid for state and local governments, and stronger unemployment benefits all became things "we couldn't afford... because of the deficit."

The irony, Sanders pointed out, is that "this is the same Republican Party so concerned about the deficit" that it does things like:

pass a $1.9 trillion tax cut benefitting the wealthiest strata in the U.S. at the expense of the vast majority; spend trillions on war over the past two decades; approve last week a $740 billion Pentagon budget, the largest bill of its kind in the history of the country and one that spends more money on defense "than the next 10 nations combined"; lavish the climate-destroying fossil fuel industry with billions in subsidies; and provide billions in corporate welfare to profitable companies paying workers "starvation wages... that must be supplemented by taxpayer-supported programs." "And during any of these debates, do you recall any of my Republican colleagues asking how these proposals were going to be paid for? I don't," said Sanders. "So forgive me for thinking their sudden display of concern for the deficit seems a bit insincere. More to the point: it's total hypocrisy!"

Highlighting the pervasiveness of unemployment, poverty, hunger, and housing insecurity, Sanders noted that "there is more economic desperation in our country today than at any point since the Great Depression." The senator explained that addressing every problem facing working-class Americans—from expanding healthcare to rebuilding our infrastructure and implementing a Green New Deal—will cost money.

"At this unprecedented moment in American history, with a growing gap between the very rich and everyone else, and when many millions of Americans are suffering, Democrats in Congress must stand up for the working families of our country." —Sen. Sanders

"If we allow Republicans to set the parameters of the debate going forward, like they did in this current Covid relief bill," Sanders added, "the next two to four years are going to be a disaster."

According to Sanders, "the fundamental political question of our time is: are we going to allow Mitch McConnell, the Republican Party, and corporate America to return us to austerity politics, or are we going to build a dynamic economy that works for everyone?"

Echoing an argument made by The Daily Poster's David Sirota about how Biden's zealous commitment to austerity ideology facilitated the watering-down of coronavirus relief, Sanders called the legislation "a very dangerous precedent" that must be opposed.

"Our concern at this moment," the senator said, "is that no matter what happens in Georgia next month, and which party controls the Senate, we cannot allow this type of inadequate negotiation again on major legislation."

"At this unprecedented moment in American history, with a growing gap between the very rich and everyone else, and when many millions of Americans are suffering, Democrats in Congress must stand up for the working families of our country," he said.

Emphasizing the need for "an aggressive agenda that speaks to the needs of the working class in this country, income and wealth inequality, health care, climate change, education, racial justice, immigration reform, and so many other vitally important issues," Sanders added: "No more caving in."


* * *


by Charles Hilu, University of Michigan

Word among nearly three dozen deemed offensive by ‘Words Matter Task Force’

“Crack the whip.” “Master/slave.” Even the term “picnic” has been deemed offensive, according to a lengthy list of words and phrases put out recently by the University of Michigan’s Information and Technology Services’ “Words Matter Task Force.”

“To effectively communicate with customers, it is important for ITS to evaluate the terms and language conventions that may hinder effective communication, harm morale, and deliberately or inadvertently exclude people from feeling accepted to foment a healthy and inclusive culture,” states the memorandum obtained by The College Fix.

The memo, last updated December 8, contains nearly 36 recommendations for alternative words and phrases, the naming of artifacts, cultural development within the organization, the creation of an advisory board, and a list of “next steps.”

A centerpiece of the memo is the first of four appendices, a table of terms deemed offensive and alternatives to replace them.

The list includes the word “picnic” under the offensive column. It suggests using “gathering” instead.

The University of Michigan media relations department declined to comment at this time on questions from The College Fix on the list and what would happen to employees who refused to abide by the guidelines in the memo.

The University of Michigan’s Information and Technology Services leadership also did not respond to a request for comment from The Fix on whether the list could be seen as a form of policing language.

An internet search on the issue of the word “picnic” being racist includes a Reuters article from July 2020 headlined: “Fact check: The word picnic does not originate from racist lynchings.”

As for the rest of the list, it contains several words containing a variation on the word “man,” such as “spokesman” or “chairman.” The guide recommends using terms like “spokesperson or “chairperson” instead.

IT terms such as “blacklist/whitelist” and “privileged account” also made the list.

Instead of using “crazy,” “dummy,” or “sanity check,” the list encourages “unthinkable,” “placeholder,” and “coherence check,” respectively, lest the speaker offend those with mental illnesses.

Terms that might offend those with disabilities such as “crippled” and “handicapped” are replaced with “weakened” and “restricted.”

The feelings of Native Americans are also taken into account. Information and Technology Services’ employees should not use the phrase “off the reservation” and are encouraged to replace it with “outside the norms” or “rogue.”

The phrase “grandfathered in” also made the cut. The College Fix previously reported on a professor who also claimed the term is racist. The same professor also took issue with the use of “low-hanging fruit,” which she claimed referenced lynching. “Low-hanging fruit” does not appear on U-M’s list.

The memo also describes new ways for organizational development to adhere to standards of diversity, equity, and inclusion, or DEI.

One way the IT department is achieving this goal is through the use of “educational animations,” each lasting approximately two minutes.

“To bring moments in which inclusive language should have been used to a real-life perspective, we want to create educational animations/short videos for ITS staff to learn more about why these issues are important,” the memo reads.

The document lists three goals in creating the modules:

To encourage empathy for how others may feel when words have negative connotations.

To spur curiosity about why words matter, and direct people to other educational resources.

To provide a non-threatening, quick resource that is easily shared/disseminated.

The authors of the memo were sure to note that the videos would include stick figures, which they call “neutral characters.”

The memo also links to a document of case studies that gives employees recommendations on how to deal with “interpersonal interactions” that are unoffensive to transgender people, black people, and women.

The document closes with a sample email to vendors who choose to partner with ITS, informing them of why the changes to the language codes are taking place.

Finally, the task force recommends the creation of an advisory board which “will continue to support ITS as it relates to updating inclusive language resources and artifact naming standards and supporting ITS services in the adoption of inclusive language best practices.”

Many of these words and phrases on the Information and Technology Services’ memo also appear on a list in a recent Business Insider article which claims that they have racist histories.

According to the article, the term “uppity” described segregated black people “who didn’t know their place.” The phrase, “sold down the river,” used to describe someone who has been cheated, but it originally referred to plantation owners who would quite literally sell slaves down the Mississippi River.

“Gyp” (as in, when one is gypped) is apparently a derivative of “gypsy,” a term which describes the Romani, an ethnic group of people who, along with Jews, faced discrimination in Medieval Europe and the Holocaust.

Editor’s note: Rick Fitzgerald, a spokesman for the University of Michigan, provided this statement to The College Fix on Dec. 22:

This ongoing work around language is part of the ITS effort to create a workplace that is diverse, equitable and inclusive.

As a unit that is part of a world-class educational institution, it’s important to make sure all members of the ITS team understand the impact of language.

This effort remains a work in progress, but it’s important to remember this is an educational effort about language that will allow the ITS team to better serve the entire university community.

All educational work around language is undertaken within the context of the university’s strong and long-standing policies on freedom of speech, outlined here.

* * *

* * *


The Covid keeps inching closer to our family’s life:

My wife’s Uncle Ted, soon to be 87 y/o, has had one foot on a banana peel for a year or two. Respiratory issues. Twice in recent months he got out of bed in the middle of the night to take a leak and toppled over and cracked his head. Major head injury, many stitches. He recovered from the first episode then did it again.

Oh yeah, and his wife, (my wife’s Aunt Elaine), died shortly before Uncle Ted’s first fall. We attended her funeral Mass. She was R.C. Catholic but only in a perfunctory sort of way. Ted is Greek Orthodox and has actually become more religious with growing age. We arrived late and so as not to be disruptive entered the church and slid into the very last pew at the back. At one point I noticed my wife looking downward and to her left. She was reading text messages on her phone. I gave her hell later… said “it’s one thing to be a non-believer but another to be THIS rude.” We were in the cortege following the casket to the graveyard. We stood right behind Uncle Ted as a Greek Orthodox priest said prayers and the box was lowered. 

Ted was a mess, flyaway white hair that hadn’t been cut for months, massive ear and nostril hair sprouting out and Ted barely able to keep himself erect with a cane and a daughter-in-law holding him up.

Recently Ted took his second fall and wound up in the hospital. Later transferred to a rehab facility. Then we got word Ted tested positive for Covid but has no symptoms. False positive? Who knows? My wife has been calling frantically all day today but no answer. Dead or alive? Who knows?

In the meantime my daughter-in-law (and PTA President) down in Maryland calls and says her PTA Treasurer has come down with Covid and gave it to her husband and 8 year old boy.

A couple three months ago I stated here that my b-i-l Peter would be lucky if he is still above ground as of Dec 31st. He is 74, lives in Estero, FL, and has really severe heart disease. One day around Thanksgiving he calls and tells my wife (his sister) his legs are so swollen with edema he can’t even walk and says “I can’t take care of himself”. My wife arranges for an ambulance to take him to a hospital. They do. Peter is carted away with nothing but the clothes on his back, his apartment keys, and his wallet. Not even his cell phone. His pet cat is left behind in an apartment that we learn later is in a state of squalor. Days later Peter calls a woman friend on the East coast of FL, 125 miles away. (He is on the West coast.) She drives across FL, gets his keys and retrieves the cat and takes it to a place to be boarded. She returns the keys to Peter and drives 125 miles back home. All this in a day. While in ‘the’ hospital (or as Brits would say, “while in hospital”) water is leaking directly out of Peter’s feet and slowly but surely the leg swelling is decreasing. A week or two goes by and he is transferred to a “skilled nursing” facility for rehab. That’s where he is as we speak but he still can’t walk.

As all this is happening we here in NJ are trying to come up with a plan to bring Peter and his ‘beater’ car back to my house and close down his life in FL. Keep in mind, Peter basically moved to FL to escape creditors so everything is arranged in some half-assed scheming way involving bank accounts, mailing addresses, etc. He has various possessions in rented storage facilities here in NJ including a partially restored 1941 Trike motorcycle which supposedly is worth some significant money. Yesterday Peter received a Covid vaccine shot and… so far so good.

I will spare you the details of our plan for retrieving Peter since those plans change daily. Only 1 day till Dec 31. 

Why, you may wonder, am I telling you all this? I need to get it off my chest!

* * *

Christmas 1963

* * *


by Dan Walters

Last month’s election was unkind to mayors of three closely spaced cities in Northern California.

Stockton’s Michael Tubbs and West Sacramento’s Christopher Cabaldon lost to challengers who came out of nowhere, while Sacramento voters soundly rejected Mayor Darrell Steinberg’s bid to strengthen the power of his office.

If there is a common denominator it is that all three had received acclaim beyond their city limits and may have incurred what one could call a “too big for their britches” backlash.

That’s particularly true of Tubbs, a young first-termer who had received nationwide media attention for his experiment in giving cash stipends to some of Stockton’s poorest residents. Although Stockton is overwhelmingly Democratic in voter registration, Tubbs fell to another young Black man, Kevin Lincoln, a Republican pastor and former Marine.

Prior to the election, the Tubbs-Lincoln duel received scant media attention, but afterwards, the Los Angeles Times and other journalistic organizations delved into the upset and pointed to a local blog, the 209 Times, that pummeled Tubbs incessantly for his alleged shortcomings.

“The 209 Times has run articles, often with no proof, alleging that Tubbs has misappropriated millions of dollars earmarked for city programs, lied about his involvement with an unpopular idea to use the county fairgrounds as part of a state-funded site for homeless people, and put personal interests ahead of his elected role,” a Los Angeles Times post-mortem declared.

The post-election analysts also pointed to weak coverage by the local newspaper, the Stockton Record, which had undergone steep staff cuts in recent years.

So was Tubbs done in by a vicious internet smear campaign? Perhaps, but there must have been an undercurrent of resentment about Tubbs’ growing fame beyond Stockton for the smears to resonate.

On paper, West Sacramento’s Cabaldon should have been a shoo-in for re-election after 18 years in the mayor’s chair. His small city had flourished with a new baseball park, massive private investment in retail business, including an IKEA store, and remarkable civic improvements.

Cabaldon, like Tubbs, had achieved widespread positive publicity for himself and his small city, which a former mayor of neighboring Sacramento had once dismissed as being “suitable only for warehouses.”

However, he fell to a first-term city councilwoman, Martha Guerrero, who subtly suggested that Cabaldon had lost touch with the city’s ordinary residents. Guerrero is a Capitol lobbyist for Los Angeles County and a key factor in her victory was support from public employee unions, which had long seen Cabaldon as an enemy.

The enmity dates back to Cabaldon’s previous career as head of EdVoice, an organization that jousts with the California Teachers Association and other school unions over charter schools and other elements of education policy. It took a while, it would appear, but the unions finally settled up an old score.

Like the other two mayors, Steinberg also had achieved much, even though the office has scant authority. He had seen a rebirth of Sacramento’s downtown with a new basketball arena, new hotels, a Kaiser medical center and other facilities. The city gained a major league soccer franchise, planned a new stadium to house the team and began confronting its vexing homelessness crisis.

Steinberg argued that if he was to be held accountable for what happened in the city, he should have the executive authority to deal with issues. But opponents saw his “strong mayor” proposal as a political power grab, and voters were unwilling to go along.

No one would be surprised if, having been rebuked by Sacramento voters, Steinberg took his political career in another direction.

(Dan Walters has been a journalist for nearly 60 years, spending all but a few of those years working for California newspapers.)


* * *


While Ca. rural counties go begging for money for mental health facilities, pay for fire fighters, better roads, and good foster homes, ICU beds, Doctors and Nurses, this is where Nancy chooses to spend our money….


Some of the items included in the bill, which is meant to fund our federal government for the next fiscal year:

$169,739,000 to Vietnam, including $19 million to remediate dioxins (page 1476)

“Unspecified funds” for not-for-profit gender-accessible education institutions in Kabul, Afghanistan (page 1477)

$198,323,000 to Bangladesh, including $23.5 million to support Burmese refugees and an additional $23.3 million for democracy programs (page 1485)

$130,265,000 to Nepal for development and democracy programs (page 1485)

$15 million for Pakistani democracy programs and an additional $10 million for “gender programs” (page 1486)

$15 million for Sri Lanka so they can refurbish a high endurance cutter patrol boat (page 1489)

$505,925,000 to Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama to address the migration of unaccompanied, undocumented minors to the United States” (pages 1490-1491)

$461,375,000 to Colombia for programs related to counter-narcotics and human rights (pages 1494-1496)

$74.8 million to the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (page 1498)

$33 million for democracy programs for Venezuela (page 1498)

“Unspecified funds” to Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Curacao, and Trinidad and Tobago to mitigate the impacted of refugees from Venezuela (page 1499)

$132,025,000 for “assistance” for Georgia (page 1499)

$453 million for assistance for Ukraine (page 1500)

$500 million to Israel for “Israeli Cooperative Programs” (page 341)

In just what is listed here – and there is more in the legislation, the American taxpayers are on the hook for over $2.189 trillion! Read the report here.

US Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), blasted the bill before the details even emerged saying, “Just another bill we have to pass before the American people discover all the goodies that special interests jammed into it over the past week.”

more here:


This is all money we are borrowing to spend.

* * *

Winter Castle

* * *


“Donald Trump is a vapid and pathetic man controlled in every case by his own worst impulses, but he is not the biggest villain of 2020. Without the entire superstructure of the Republican party behind him — voting for him, campaigning for him, debasing themselves before him, praising his stupid ideas and supporting him politically — he would not be in a position to cause hundreds of thousands of deaths. There is a long, straight line that runs from the wink-and-nod racist Southern Strategy of Richard Nixon through the deregulation and union-busting of Reagan and up to the deadly narcissism of Trump. When a political party is willing to tell any lie and demonize anyone in order to protect the right of the rich to have everything, it will eventually find that it has become the home of cranks and fascists. The Republican party has spent decades stoking malignant ignorance in service of greed, and it has now been devoured by it. What afflicts us now is not just a virus, but a national philosophy lovingly tended by many generations of conquerors that prizes avarice and calls it individualism. Merry Christmas, America.”

* * *

The adults tried to intervene, but hyped up on birthday cake, Rupert wrestled his siblings like a child possessed.


  1. Harvey Reading December 25, 2020

    “$169,739,000 to Vietnam, including $19 million to remediate dioxins (page 1476)”

    Money well spent. We OWE the Vietnamese for the horrors we inflicted upon them, particularly since their only crime was to insist on self-determination, having thrown out the French imperialists, whom we supported with billions in aid.

    • Douglas Coulter December 25, 2020

      Amen! Agent Orange is still killing in Veitnam.

      • Lazarus December 25, 2020

        Agent Orange is killing in America. I know of several who got cancer and died young. In Vietnam, they were drenched in the stuff.
        Be well,

        • Marmon December 25, 2020

          Sure, blame it on Trump. He wasn’t even there.


  2. Marmon December 25, 2020


    If those kids are Native American that will not happen. Those kids belong to the tribe and they will be returned to the tribe, thanks to the failing Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA).


  3. Douglas Coulter December 25, 2020

    Christians on the rampage in Ohio, mask less in tight group pray the evil out of Native Burial Grounds at Serpent Mound.
    Newsweek posted 12/22/2020
    Getting into someone’s face like that should be a criminal offense during pandemic. But America does not protect the natives against outside forces.

  4. izzy December 25, 2020

    Just to keep things light for the holidays, I’ll remark that former Sheriff Tom Jondahl, who apparently passed away back in 2012, actually looked the part.

  5. Stephen Rosenthal December 25, 2020

    Corona Relief Bill: not one dime should be allocated to foreign aid; every cent must be earmarked to aid the American people and businesses that have been absolutely devastated this year.

    • Harvey Reading December 25, 2020

      If you’re referring to the money going to Vietnam, it does NOT qualify as “foreign aid”. It is a tiny amount of reparation for war crimes committed by the U.S. Government, a government that almost totally devastated that county based on a pack of government lies–like every succeeding war this country has waged. And, regarding the other countries, you can be sure the US has plundered far more from them than it is giving them in “aid”.

      • Bruce McEwen December 25, 2020

        And rich dogs like us ought by common decency share our wealth with the countries we’ve “liberated” and kick down some “stimulus” to those poor devils, too.

        It’s rare I agree with you, Reading, so you may take it as a grudging compliment, a kind of yuletide gift, that on this particular subject you make a poignant point: Merry merry!

        • Harvey Reading December 26, 2020

          I give your agreement its appropriate due, McEwen, as always, and await the inevitable stab in the back…

          • Bruce McEwen December 26, 2020

            “You have to get behind a man in order to stab him in the back.”

            — Grandpa McEwen

            *(Which is why I never trust anyone to get my back.)

          • Harvey Reading December 26, 2020

            Sounds like a simple-minded fellow…

          • Bruce McEwen December 26, 2020

            Like James Marmon, Harvey Reading, goes into his martyred act whenever somebody challenges one of his {small caps open} received opinions {close small caps}.

            “Stabbed in the back,” he wails.

            Fine. Now I’ll twist the blade: Harvey Reading and James Marmon are two sides of the same coin.

          • Harvey Reading December 26, 2020

            LOL, McEwen. You truly are consistent, if boring. Bye, bye, now.

      • Stephen Rosenthal December 26, 2020

        It’s called the COVID Stimulus Relief Bill, not the Foreign Aid Bill.

        • Harvey Reading December 26, 2020

          You should have a better notion of how things work in our national legislature. Any reparations to the Vietnamese would be voted down if they were introduced as stand-alone bills. Plenty of things get sneaked into bills mainly intended for other purposes. I hope the Vietnam reparation stands.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.