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Mendocino County Today: Thursday, April 1, 2021

Warming | 6 New Cases | Fatal Fall | Mattole Beach | Rainfall Totals | Lowest Level | Vaccine Reveal | Debris Removal | Hypocrites | Wine Barrels | Seized Shipment | Wine Tasting | Tuesday Blackout | Sculptor Gressett | Treeless City | Fictional Characters | Streetscape Fatigue | Ferndale | Hybrid Schooling | Mango Tango | Turf War | Rural Entertainment | Limited Library | Young Nixon | Ed Notes | Online Tango | Yesterday's Catch | Swedish Hellscape | Ruinous Greed | Gender Quandary | LA Gangs | Tell Me | Hard Distinctions | Baizuo | Meeting Groucho | Play Ball | Civic Pride | Empowering Women | Infrastructure Plan | Fieldworkers | Dem Club | Egg First

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DRY AND MILD TO WARM CONDITIONS will continue across northwest California through Friday. Thereafter, cooler temperatures are expected. Rain chances will increase across the region late Sunday and Monday. (NWS)

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6 NEW COVID CASES reported in Mendocino County yesterday afternoon.

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JOHN REID CARLISLE, 79, visiting from Georgia, died Tuesday when he fell from a 60-foot cliff and into the ocean near Albion. Carlisle had been staying with family at a rental home on the bluffs. He was taking photographs when his fatal fall occurred shortly before 4pm. He'd annually visited the Mendocino Coast for family turkey hunts, according to Sheriff's spokesman Greg Van Patten. Carlisle's body was recovered by a Coast water rescue team.

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Mattole Beach, Petrolia

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March was a little wetter than February but not by much — about an inch. Monthly figures for the 2020-21 wet season (Oct-Oct) thus far:

Boonville (16.3 inches total)

  • 0.1” Oct
  • 1.9” Nov
  • 3.5” Dec
  • 4.8” Jan
  • 2.5” Feb
  • 3.4” Mar

Yorkville (21.2 inches total)

  • 0.0” Oct
  • 2.2” Nov
  • 5.4” Dec
  • 5.9” Jan
  • 3.3” Feb
  • 4.4” Mar

As you can see from the running totals above, this year has been extremely dry. One can see it in the barely flowing rivers and creeks, and hear it crackling underfoot in the woods. Unless we monsoon soon we are heading for a second consecutive year of minimal precipitation. Compare the above numbers (rounded to 16 and 21 inches thus far) with rounded totals from previous years:


  • 18” (2019-2020)
  • 54” (2018-2019)
  • 21” (2017-2018)
  • 65” (2016-2017)
  • 35” (2015-2016)
  • 31” (2014-2015)


  • 27” (2019-2020)
  • 72” (2018-2019)
  • 33” (2017-2018)
  • 87” (2016-2017)
  • 55” (2015-2016)
  • 42” (2014-2015)

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A second year of extremely low rainfall has left water storage in Lake Sonoma and Lake Mendocino at the lowest levels for this time of year since the reservoirs were filled decades ago, Sonoma County’s water agency said Tuesday.

Lake Sonoma had 154,729 acre-feet of water at last check, or about 63% of its storage capacity for this time of year, while Lake Mendocino, the smaller of the two, had about 45% of its targeted storage, or about 36,000 acre-feet.

Together, the two reservoirs supply drinking water for more than 600,000 people in three counties — Sonoma, Mendocino and Marin.

The east fork of the Russian River cuts a deeper path through the exposed north end of Lake Mendocino, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021 as Ukiah residents, Riley, Seychell, Renee and Jett, 5, who didn't want their last names used, enjoy a family outing at the lake. The reservoir continues to recede as rain deficits mount in the region. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat) 2021

The situation is particularly dire for Lake Mendocino, which serves municipal and rural users around Ukiah and is managed to sustain flows in the upper Russian River during drier months. Given the dry summer months ahead, it could become too low to support such releases by this fall, absent sufficient conservation measures, the water agency said.

Officials are asking for voluntary reductions in water use, but that could change quickly, said Grant Davis, general manager of Sonoma Water.

“We are faced with the second year of very dry conditions, and the entire Russian River watershed will need to come together, yet again, like we’ve done in the past, to reduce diversions out of the Russian River system and to practice good water conservation and efficiency measures to get through this particular year and into next year,” Davis said.

The supply situation is even worse than it was during the 2012-16 drought, when reservoir levels dropped even lower than they are now toward the end of 2014, but late in the year — beyond the high-water-use summer months, with only weeks to go before the prospect of winter rain to restore supply.

Right now, though there is some possibility of spring rain in the next couple of weeks, the bulk of the wet season is largely concluded, with just under 13 inches of rain since Oct. 1 in Santa Rosa, or about 40% of normal.

Last year at this time, Santa Rosa had received just under 17 inches of rain, or 53% of average rainfall of 31.90 inches by March 29.

— Mary Callahan, courtesy of Santa Rosa Press Democrat

A READER NOTES: According to the official PD figures it is much worse than what is stated in this article. I did not think we had had that much rain, so I turned to the PD weather page which shows Santa Rosa with a rainfall to date of 12.77 inches and an average rainfall to date of 32.04. This is nowhere near the 53% of average shown in the article which says we had 17 inches so far. I am not sure where the figures in the article came from but they don't agree with those the PD is showing on an ongoing basis.

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The California Office of Emergency Services and Cal Recycle are assessing and removing debris, asbestos, and trees from homes and other structures destroyed as a result of the 2020 California Wildfires. For additional resources and information, please visit

Homeowners: Rebuilding CANNOT begin until your property has been Returned to the County. If your property is in ANY OTHER status than Returned to County, rebuilding cannot begin. Please direct any questions regarding this to Disaster Recover at (707) 234-6303 or

To view the 2020 Statewide California Fires - Debris Operations Dashboard:

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Remember when Donald Trump was impeached and the retort from Republican legislators was let the voters decide in the next election? Now Republicans in California have decided that Gov. Gavin Newsom must be removed in a special election as soon as possible.

Now, remember how Republicans gripe about spending. Now Republicans are griping and willing to blow $100 million on this unnecessary special election and can’t wait a year and a half for the next regular gubernatorial election to let the voters decide.

Now, remember how Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was furious that two bills he wanted did not pass in the Legislature. He held a special election to the tune of $50 million and lost on both issues.

Wow, Republicans — don’t do as I do, do as I say.

Pardee Bardwell


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by Robert Dempel

Anytime I get mail from the government I consider it important and a little threatening. So, the latest mail is from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. This is my reply to Mr. Russell D. XXXXXXX, Fines, Penalties and Forfeitures Office.

I have received your four page letter concerning property that you seized in route to me. As stated the the value of the property is $43.20. I am enclosing the exact amount for payment of the shipment. I trust you that this will satisfy any and all delay in having you immediately ship my package to me.

Currently 500,000 citizens have died from the feared COVID-19 virus. I put more concern as to this than a $44. I cannot compute just how much money was expended for you to compose the 4-page letter to me. Most likely it took a trough of attorneys to approve or compose these pages. 

So, I have perused the form titled Election of Proceedings and you have directed and so thoughtfully underlined in your first page, first paragraph. What I am missing is just what necessary documents you need to release my shipment? Can you please be more specific, an example would be a prescription from a licensed medical professional or equilivant stating the medical reason as to why I need the contents of the shipment. Please take severe notice that I am almost 85 years old and cannot obtain all of the health products locally to keep this tired body going for another year. For my lifetime I have produced some of the food that you consume every day. 

I also trust that this letter will suffice as a petition to return to me my shipment. I will eliminate in my request all references to titles, sections, acronyms, and alike. Your letter states that the seizure was at San Francisco on December 1, 2020. 

As you stated my petition does not need to be in any specific form. Further I must describe the property. To wit: the property is generally round but sometimes it is oblong. The weight is less than one gram and generally white. The oblong product can be split in half rather easily but the round product is much harder to half. I am enclosing a copy of your letter with the case number Dated December 18, 2020 for security reasons. Please use the case number you have supplied when replying. Please include a receipt for the sum of $44 I have included that you state is the value of the property. 

I look forward to you releasing my product.

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Asti Wine Tasting

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by Jim Shields

Without any advance warning or notice to anybody, including public safety agencies Pacific Gas & Electric Company switched off North County power around 4 a.m. Tuesday and it was restored at approximately 9:45 a.m.

The reason?

I checked PG&E’s outage map on its website which shows current Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS). It showed the power had been cut from just south of Leggett down through Laytonville to Longvale, over west to Branscomb and east for maybe 15 miles or so. The entire Covelo area including thousands of acres of tribal land were also under the PSPS. Aside from the outage maps there was no explanation for the shutdown.

I was up prior to the 4 a.m. shutdown working on board packets for our monthly water board meeting. I’d gone out to the barn to give our horse a flake of alfalfa and some grain. It was a cold pre-dawn morning, the temperature at 33 degrees but conditions were calm. Later in the day, we’d get our usual mid-afternoon winds that mostly come through a western notch in the Coastal Range that forms the U-shaped contour of Long Valley, which is approximately 1,500 feet in elevation. But those winds came four or five hours after PG&E re-energized their lines. 

I then remembered the federal judge overseeing Pacific Gas & Electric's criminal probation (from the 2010 San Bruno gas line explosion) said last week that he is considering requiring the electrical monopoly to be more aggressive about de-energizing its electrical lines in high fire risk areas, a plan that news reports said could double the number of power outages for some Northern California counties over the next decade.

The judge’s proposal outlined during the hearing is the latest effort to prevent the utility's equipment from igniting more deadly wildfires by reducing the likelihood that trees could fall into the utility's long-neglected (as in at least a decade) electrical equipment. The ever-vigilant (contrasted with the never-vigilant California Public Utilities Commission) U.S. District Judge William Alsup is overseeing PG&E's safety precautions as part of the utility’s criminal probation after the natural gas lines blew up.

Alsup indicated that he is leaning toward imposing tougher conditions. 

“My view is quite clear: We should save lives,” Alsup said in one of the stories I checked. “We don’t have the luxury to wait around. I am not open to the idea that we would kick the can down the road and study the problem to death.” 

The PUC, which “regulates” PG&E, is opposing the additional power shut-offs, which it contends would impose undue hardship on about 900,000 people who live in the mostly rural counties of Mendocino, Trinity, Placer, Shasta, Tehama, and Madera. While on its face that may appear to be commendable public policy, keep in mind that for nearly a decade the “Public’s Watchdog” granted request after request by PG&E to defer and delay its statutory obligation to keep its overhead infrastructure free and clear of trees, overhanging limbs, brush, etc. In fact, the last extension granted by the PUC occurred one day prior to the infamous Wine Country fires six years ago.

The federal court hearing, interestingly enough held online, came a day after California fire investigators released a report concluding that a Shasta County wildfire that killed four people and destroyed more than 200 buildings last September was caused by a tree that fell into a PG&E power line. Alsup blasted PG&E during the hearing for not cutting down the tree that started that fire after its removal had been recommended in 2018 and described the utility as “grossly negligent.”

Under the stricter safety measures Alsup is considering, PG&E projected the utility would have to power down on large scale 45 separate times during the next decade, a 67% increase from the 27 deliberate outages predicted in that time under current standards. The number of outages would triple in Trinity County while doubling in Mendocino, Placer, Shasta, Tehama, and Madera. The outages would nearly double in three other sparsely populated counties: Butte, Nevada and El Dorado.

PG&E attorneys assured Alsup the utility shares the judge's goal of reducing wildfire risks posed by its power lines as the company pours billions of dollars into upgrading its equipment (of course, ratepayers are “sharing” the costs for the work). 

According to the S.F. Chronicle, PUC attorney Christine Hammond urged the judge to take more time to vet the new conditions while also weighing the challenges facing households and businesses that may be forced to go without power during outages that could last for days.

Hammond said the consequences of past pre-emptive outages have been “very disquieting,” noting that PG&E hasn't given adequate warning to hundreds of affected medical facilities that need electricity to care for their patients.

Judge Alsup blamed state regulators — which includes both the PUC, state Legislature, and a series of governors — for years of lax oversight that helped create the current dilemma by allowing PG&E to evade its mandatory right-of-way maintenance.

“It's a Hobson’s choice, it's a terrible choice that California is faced with,” Alsup commented. “There is no really good answer to it. It's just, which is the lesser of two tremendous evils.”

The judge asked PG&E to submit more information about how the tougher conditions would affect the frequency of blackouts before he makes a ruling that he said will come ahead of the start of this summer's wildfire season.

So there you have all the answers to why the Tuesday morning blackout occurred, and also you were given a gaze into PG&E’s PSPS crystal ball. Be sure you include tuning up your generators amongst all your other Spring cleaning chores.

(Jim Shields is the Mendocino County Observer’s editor and publisher,, and is also the long-time district manager of the Laytonville County Water District. Listen to his radio program “This and That” every Saturday at 12 noon on KPFN 105.1 FM, also streamed live:

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Crescent City, land of my forefathers and mothers! If you're thinking — hey, aren't there supposed to be trees or something up there? Not in Crescent City! Crescent City is reserved for giant swathes of concrete that they decorate with leftover directional signs from other Caltrans projects.

Their downtown was destroyed by a tsunami 60 years ago and they decided — you know what? let's just make it a big park. And hold the trees. Acres of treeless lawn. Yes. They would have had playing fields, but you need people for playing fields. Treeless lawns in the center of town are easier to un-devastate than buildings. Then strip malls came along and bingo! Problem solved. Except it helps to have at least a couple structures more than one story tall.

Doesn't matter though, because 1) there aren't many people there except for the prison, and they don't drive much, hopefully 2) everybody pretty much knows where stuff is. 3) “They're tourists. Who cares if they're lost? They might get stuck and we'll charge them for the tow. Win-win.” — direct quote from Crescent City Chamber of Commerce.

Plus, did I mention the tsunamis and they're still waiting to hear for sure if Japan surrendered, so that's stressful. Don't bother them about trees, is the feeling I get.

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To the Editor:

In response to the latest article in the Ukiah Daily Journal newspaper. The bottom line of streetscape, is diagonal parking, traffic slow down, and planters. The beautiful cobble brick intersection….once a beautification project, on State Street and Perkins, is now ruined. So now more closures and paving is going on? Until when? I believe citizens get tired of the continual, almost perpetual, road work and now a really odd revision of a plan, while in construction. And that the type of construction distracts from tourism and makes our main town street dysfunctional at many levels. 

Is it possible the work can be slated for another year and approved of by citizens first? Can’t the citizens of Ukiah see the end of money perpetually going out for this streetscape, be over? Over $700,000 dollars added to a project, in a town of this size, already agreed on, is a lot of money. If this above amount, was added to original plan, would it have been approved? I ask that question. It’s a hypothetical question. But the possibility is, it may not have happened. And full disclosure of costs is the government’s responsibility and legally binding. It would be nice if the original plan is finished. So the public can see the (State Street) streetscape project finished and finalized. It's not called, Townscape. That rationalization can go on forever.

Catherine Lair


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Ferndale, California

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To the Editor:

I think it is illogical and disruptive to reopen schools in a hybrid way, where part of the schooling is online, part in person. Since 6′ distance is still required but impossible to enforce for minors without turning school into an expensive prison, keep it online. Or at least make it so those parents who want to keep school online can continue that, reducing the number of children and teachers needed to cover the in-person schooling.

Kay Lieberknecht


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The round trip walk of 2.8 miles on Ukiah’s Rail Trail that parallels the abandoned railroad tracks on the city’s east side had been blighted by lots of graffiti apparently sprayed on the black tar path late at night. The city recently covered over the various sets of words and symbols with black paint. The following day, in tiny white letters sprayed in the corner of a black painted patch were the words “turf war.”

Dave Smith


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ANY VEHICLE ABANDONED more than a few days on a highway or back road will be ransacked, shot full of holes and/or lit on fire. Guaranteed. Rural entertainment.

— Chris Calder

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LIBRARY TO KINDA SORTA, RE-OPEN, A LITTLE. This week, the County’s main branch library in Ukiah is opening its doors a passable crack after about a year of closed and limited curbside operations due to the pandemic. Mendo’s recent entry into the lower “red tier” of relative plague safety, means that the Library can partially re-open for eight hours a week, or 1pm to 5pm on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons.

SOCIAL DISTANCING, however, means that only a limited number of people can be in the bunker-like building on Main Street, Ukiah, at one time. Masks, of course, will still be required, and there will be no seating and restrooms will be closed. And no computer use. The copier will be available, but you must “observe the markings and arrows on the floor at all times while inside the library.” 

THE LIBRARY also asks that if you feel sick, please do not enter. Patrons who make it into the library during the limited hours are asked to make it quick: enter, browse briefly, borrow something, and go. Bring your library card if you have one, otherwise you’ll need to complete a short card application form and show ID, which takes about five minutes. 

IT WILL BE interesting to see how this limited opening works out. We suspect there might be a lot of people who want to get in, having been unable to visit for months, requiring staff to keep a watchful eye out for lingering visitors who fail to dash and grab. (Mark Scaramella)

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I WROTE this morning to Mendocino County's lead law enforcement officer for his legal opinion on the annual aural frost fan assault endured by the residents of Anderson Valley. Five out of the last six early mornings this week (it's Wednesday) the equivalent of Huey troop carriers landing on their roofs or in their yards have startled several hundred locals out of their sleep shortly after midnight some nights, at around three am others, the impossible-to-sleep-through din lasting until full sunrise. Please spare me the citation of the Right to Farm ordinance since Anderson Valley's residential neighborhoods precede the grape gentry by 150 years, but how can a dozen vineyard owners, including the French imperialists at Roederer, be permitted to serially disrupt the sleep of several hundred Americans, many of them elderly, some of them ailing? 

DO THE MATH: According to the reliably unreliable NPR commentator and economist Betsy Stevenson, an American life has an economic value of about $10 million, calculated birth to oblivion, or eternal choir practice, depending on one's ontological expectations.

IF WE ASSUME that an average lifespan is about 80 years, and each citizen weighs 180 pounds (275 in Ukiah), we get:

$10,000,000 / 80 = $118k per year.

$118k / 180 pounds = About $650 per pound per year.

FURTHER ASSUMING that Boonville residents are denied sleep for 14 nights per year, we get: 650 / 365 x 14 = about $2 a night per pound per year.

TIMES 1000 residents = $2000 per pound of residents per year.

FURTHER-FURTHER ASSUMING that Lord and Lady Bennett of Navarro Vineyards — rumored to spend frost nights in Mendocino — produce 40 acres of grapes at 4 tons per acre per year at $2,000 per ton, we get, 40 x 4 x $2,000 = $320,000

FURTHER assuming that Lord and Lady Bennett’s frost fans save them maybe 10% of their annual crop by reducing frost damage, we get their savings of $32,000.

CONVERTING this figure to per pound, we get $32,000 / 2,000 = $160 per pound per year — irrefutable, mathematically invincible proof that Lord Bennett was wrong when he told that memorable assembly at the Philo Grange, ”My grapes are worth more than your sleep.”

RYAN FLINT: RE: A FEW MILES north of Cloverdale on Highway 101 a big rig overturned, spilling debris (recycling materials) Waste (Mis)Management Corporation doesn’t pay Mendocino county residents their CRV fees back, because they have stopped the buy back recycling service. It’s been over a year of this scam now. They are pocketing millions of dollars in recycling, first under the guise of “China won’t take it anymore, were back stocked,” to “Sorry, COVID restrictions, we can’t accept them right now,” both of which are invalid excuses. They are also claiming all this unsorted recycling as “addition refuse” and getting even more money from the county for its disposal… which is what was in the overturned truck. The Mafia runs the waste disposal in Italy… what’s the American equivalent?

OUR ALL-TIME FAVE press release came from the State Attorney General's office back around 2000, when AG Lockyer announced that the state and federally-funded Campaign Against Marijuana Production (CAMP), confiscated more pot in Mendocino County this season than in any other county in the state. 63,107 devil weed plants were seized during 57 raids. The oddest part of the press release? “Attorney General Lockyer calculated that the seized plants were the equivalent of 219 million joints.” Only a heartbroken toker would even bother to make that calculation.

THE FAMILY-OWNED Mendocino Redwood Company, formerly L-P, formerly Masonite, got off to a good public relations start in 1998 by hiring local, planting a lot of trees, repairing roads, cleaning up streams, and always answering the phones when the pesky public had a question. No more. Every woodsworker and even most people who border the Fisher Family's vast holdings complain about MRC now, but the company's refusal to pay their fair share of the local fire protection share was typical of the Fishers' approach to public relations, typical you might say if people who amassed their initial fortune off the trapped labor of Asian seamstresses.

ROD JONES, the Mendocino-based attorney, once floated the idea of creating an environmental fund out of which legal challenges to especially damaging projects could be mounted. But as it was, and still is in Mendo, every watershed has its own little cadre of powermongers and info hoarders (and would-be media stars) who, for fear of losing whatever control they think they have over whatever it is they think they are doing that when destructive projects get under way the enviros are literally a day late and many dollars short. Of course any criticism of the self-anointed saviors of the wild things is disallowed in any of the venues where the precious ones do their thing, but in my experience in Mendoland (and I've hugged a tree or two over the years all the way into jail), the biggest obstacle to both environmental sanity and progressive social policy is the petty vanity of the self-appointed leadership. Some of these people would clearcut the world to get a mention in the Press Democrat.

NOT TO BE TOO CHURLISH about it, but before the plague closed the schools some parents were complaining that their kids were ”risking back injury” because their books are too heavy to carry around. A load of back-packed textbooks couldn't weigh more than 30 pounds even if every class piled in a few more. The complaints arose at some schools when enrollment exceeded locker capacity, forcing some young scholars to store their books in their backpacks. But even if the books weighed 50 pounds it would be physiologically advantageous to the typically inert, sugar-fueled, TV-raised, phone-addicted little wuss if he had to hump the books to Ukiah and back every day, alone, through wild hogs, and without forklifts, wheelbarrows or refrigerator dollies. The average kid doesn't get nearly enough physical activity, what with their parents driving them everywhere and shoving Big Macs and Pepsis in them, gut prep for lives of negative food value dining, so carrying five or six books fifty feet to the bus stop isn't likely to cripple the kid, is it?

MY COLLEAGUE, The Major, to put the textbook burden in historical context, says he recalls a strict textbook-toting protocol at his old high school in Fresno. The Major claims he was a straight-A student who'd grown up watching Ask Mr. Wizard on television, so we're talking about a guy who has toted his share of textbooks. “Boys,” he recalls, “had to carry their books under their arm no matter how many or how heavy they were. Under one arm, I emphasize. And not only in the halls of the high school but all the way home. Girls were permitted to carry their books to the front and with both arms. Any male spotted in the act of transporting books in any way other than under one arm was… well, it just wasn't done.”

I CAN'T remember carrying any books anywhere until I was about twenty and carried a book or two to ingratiate myself with the more bookish females. I'd tote a big paperback novel in a side pocket of my corduroy sport coat, title visible as bait. As for textbooks, I don't remember reading or even consulting a textbook the entire time I was in high school let alone carrying one anywhere. The only books I can remember from that era are the few that students had to have a note from a parent to read. These were books the school authorities considered “subversive.” (Then as now school people were not book readers. If they were, there would be no such thing as a textbook. Textbooks destroy forever the intellectual curiosity of millions of America's youth at every school. I do recall my high school history textbook asserting that slavery was actually a very good deal for black people, what with the free room and board and all. So, I suppose, the correct exam answer was, “Yes, slavery was good for black people because they got free room and board.” That book was written, I believe, by the great Harvard drone, Morrison. These days textbooks deliver a sort of purplish, multicultural fog which, in its own way, is just as untrue as the version of history written by the old Harvard white boys. Anyway, the dangerous books at my high school were kept in a big, locked cabinet behind the librarian's desk. Naturally, because they were sequestered, there was a large demand from the more estranged students to read them. I read all of them, most without understanding a word, on the safe assumption that any book deemed dangerous by school people had to be worth reading because school people, then and now, were less than committed to the truth of things. But almost all of the forbidden lit consisted of pacifist and vegetarian tracts and fiction like ‘Peyton Place,’ a book that was readily available out in the world anyway and which I'd read when I was about twelve simply because I'd been told not to read it. 

BUT there was one truly subversive book in the big glass case — ‘Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo.’ It was later banned entirely in the United States along with Wilhelm Reich's ‘The Mass Psychology of Fascism.’ (American fascists didn't trust Americans to read either one.) ‘Johnny Got His Gun,’ since converted to an awful movie that manages to eliminate entirely the powerful effect of the novel, is told from the point of view of a kid vegetable-ized in a war fought for no reason that he can discern. The book had a powerful effect on me as a 15-year-old because I'd never read anything that strong. It was exactly the kind of book a young person should read, but in class we were wading through five feet of Longfellow and the rest of the ancient canon. I thought ‘Johnny Got His Gun’ was some kind of publishing fluke. I'd had no idea literature could be good. And heck, the darned thing must have weighed a full 8 ounces, but it helped me get where I was going — old and broke in Boonville, as it turned out.

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In a sparkling season finale on Sunday, April 18th, at 2:00 pm, the Ukiah Community Concert Association presents an exciting online performance by Los Tangueros del Oeste, joined by world class Argentine Tango dancers. 

Los Tangueros del Oeste is the latest project by bassist/composer Sascha Jacobsen. It draws on his love of Argentine Tango music and dance with elements of Flamenco, Electronica and Jazz. With five generations of musicians in his lineage leading back to the Moscow Opera, Sasha Jacobsen has delighted UCCA audiences with his other groups, the Musical Art Quintet and Trio Garufa. He returns this time with his nuevo tango troupe of stellar musicians and dancers steeped in the fusion styles of Astor Piazzolla, Gotan Project, and Bajo Fondo. 

Join us April 18 at 2:00 p.m. for this vibrant finale to our virtual concert season.

Dance partner optional, concert viewers need only a reliably strong internet connection and an email address to which UCCA can send the Zoom link. After the performance, the program will be loaded onto UCCA’s very own YouTube channel and available to subscribers and single-event ticket buyers for 30 days.

Tickets for non-season subscribers are $15 and available online at UCCA offers free access to Mendocino College students who request in advance as part of our continuing educational outreach program. For more information, please call 707-463-2738, or send an email through our website: Visit us there, and Like us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

The Ukiah Community Concert Association has been presenting internationally acclaimed talent since 1947. This all-volunteer nonprofit’s mission is to build and maintain an enthusiastic concert audience by presenting stellar and enticing live performances. It is also our goal to encourage and develop music appreciation in the schools because Live Music makes Life Better! 

UCCA thanks our members for their continued support as well as our sponsors Schat’s Bakery, Black Oak Coffee, and Rivino Winery and W/E Flowers. Special thanks to the Mendocino Arts Club and Mendocino College Recording Arts & Technology club for their ongoing support and collaboration.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, March 31, 2021

Anderson, Cape, Lovato, Martinez

BRIAN ANDERSON, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation.


RICHARD LOVATO, Clearlake/Ukiah. Community supervision violation.

MARIA MARTINEZ, Ukiah. Failure to appear.

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Yep, there’s the problem with depleting oil, and also its inconvenient placement in some dusty locales run by some bearded and robed fellas with some truly retrograde ideas. But we have other problems, mainly those of our own making, for example, a multi-decade head-long charge away from reason and common sense. 

And not only that but a whole-hearted embrace of the most howling fool-assery, some truly preposterous notions dressed up with jargon and abstruse terminology to sound like wisdom. Apparently the smartest among us forgot that if something sounds like gobbledegook, then that’s what it really is. 

Every day you can see folly coming from the bastions of what we laughingly refer to as “higher education”, which by any realistic assessment don’t produce anything resembling “education” never mind “higher”. One outcome was this stretch of sheer lunacy where the “elite” consensus – with academic backing – was that financial markets needed de-regulation. 

So, Horn-dog Bill saw to it, that is, when he could find the time, when he could get away from indulging a sharp and refined (sarcasm) taste for sin, listening to a small coterie representing views of monied interests.

Well, Wall Street had its way, Wall Street has been having it way for a long time now, having bought and paid for those same bastions previously referred to and also both factions of the ruling Party. And, lest Republicans think that we don’t know, it was largely their thinking, if you can call it that, that underpinned much of this foolhardiness. So far be it from Dubya to get in the way. 

And so Wall Street insisted on playing Russian Roulette. Despite warnings that those pistols had real ammo, Wall Street kept at it. Inevitably, Wall Street blew its brains out. Remember? 

And then Barry and his administration, also in tight with Wall Streeters, came running, putting Wall Street into intensive care, finding no lack of time nor money. 

Nor lack of justifications either for turning a blind-eye to the most egregious criminality no matter the abundance of evidence. “Too big to jail” they said. Me, in my touching innocence, thought “too big to NOT jail”. Then Barry O hired Mary Jo. Truly remarkable, this astounding silliness, a real side-splitter, hiring former counsel for Wall Street financial firms as regulator of those same firms. You could be forgiven for thinking, what’s next, mob lawyers as police commissioners?

You don’t have to look too hard. The ruinous results are right under your nose, and if you can’t see it, then you’re willfully blind, or maybe in the pay of those same monied interests. I think it’s trite but true, that old saying, people won’t see things if their paycheck depends on their not seeing them.

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Reporter Cerise Castle - Shot by Police in 2020, Files PRA's While Injured, Writes History

Dear All:

Please find link below to a new and historic piece of long-form journalism, Cerise Castle's “A Tradition of Violence: The History of Deputy Gangs in the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department.”

Castle started this (so far) 13-part series while on six months of bed-rest after being shot by law enforcement while covering protests last summer. 

The LASD's deputy gangs have been an open secret in Los Angeles for decades. But it took over fifty years until someone from one of the impacted communities (Castle) finally took it on. Truly a case of someone who didn't want to “own” the massive story, but now does. (Where was The LA Times?) 

Knock-LA is the news outlet that made a home for Castle:

If Castle's series is too long for you to read right now, a interview with her is included in this episode of LA Podcast, starting at 56:40


Eva Chrysanthe 

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THERE ARE NO HARD DISTINCTIONS between what is real and what is unreal, nor between what is true and what is false. A thing is not necessarily either true or false; it can be both true and false. I believe that these assertions still make sense and do still apply to the exploration of reality through art. So as a writer I stand by them but as a citizen I cannot. As a citizen I must ask: What is true? What is false?

– Harold Pinter, from Nobel Speech, December 7, 2005

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BUD CORT, describing the first time he met Groucho Marx: “I had just gotten off the plane from New York City, and I had hair down to my shoulders and a beard. I took a cab up to his house in Bel-Air, and the minute my fist connected with the door, the door opened, and there stood Groucho. He looked at me, his mouth flew open, he gasped and he slammed the door in my face. [Another guest, who knew Bud, opened the door and brought Bud in to introduce him to Groucho]. Groucho said, 'I'm sorry. I thought you were Charles Manson'.”

On Marx: “He was definitely one of my heroes. He inspired me so, still does. He gave me a lot of love, something I'll cherish forever. He also gave me his tooth, but that's another story.”

Cort lived as a house guest for many years with his dear friend Groucho Marx. He also was close friends with Orson Welles and Ruth Gordon, his co-star in “Harold and Maude” (1971) 

When considering the role of Harold in “Harold and Maude” (1971), Cort asked the opinion of director Robert Altman, his mentor. Altman cautioned that rising star Cort might find himself forever typecast. For this reason, Cort turned down the role of Billy Bibbit in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest” (1975).

According to Ruth Gordon's autobiography, a number of other actresses were considered and interviewed by director Hal Ashby for the role of Maude, including Edith Evans, Mildred Dunnock, Mildred Natwick, Gladys Cooper, Peggy Ashcroft, Elisabeth Bergner, Edwige Feuillère and Dorothy Stickney. Cort wanted Greta Garbo to play the part of Maude. 

“Harold and Maude” played for a total of 1,957 showings from mid-1972 until June 1974 at the Westgate Theater in Edina, Minnesota. Gordon appeared for the first anniversary celebration and both Gordon and Cort showed up for the second anniversary. (IMDb)

Happy Birthday, Bud Cort!

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by Paul Theroux

One of the common denominators I noticed of the Mexican towns was this civic pride. The street sweeper with his hand cart was a feature of every border town I visited, and the local boast was that life was quite a bit better in your own town than in others on the border — in spite of the fact that wherever you were a violent drug cartel dominated the place. This ‘Our Town’ feeling of belonging, the assertion that “I was born in Ciudad Aleman, I grew up in Ciudad Aleman, this is my home,” gave me hope, because the speaker was a 10 minute walk from Roma, Texas.

I had lunch at a taqueria, ate an ice cream, and sat in the plaza and talked to a local man about the maquilas (auto parts) — and he laughed and called me a Gabacho. Returning to the US side, I mentioned the pinatas to the immigration officer.

“I'd like to take a swing at the Bernie Sanders pinata,” he said.

“What about Trump?”

“He's doing a good job. We need him.”

“To build a wall?”

“For everything -- everything that's wrong in this country. So much needs to be fixed.”

“Have you been across?” And I jerked my thumb toward the bridge.

“Not for years. I hear it's like the Wild West.”

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BIDEN’S $2 TRILLION infrastructure plan is obviously inadequate to the magnitude of need, and a lot of it is directed to low-priority and even pointless projects. Biden says it will be funded by tax hikes — including a paltry 7% rise in Capital Gains Taxes from 21% to 28%.


Electric vehicles: $174 billion to boost the markets for electric vehicles. Rebates and tax incentives to buy American-made EVs. 

School buses: Replace 50,000 diesel transit vehicles and electrify at least 20 percent of yellow school bus fleet. The package touts an Energy Department program called Clean Buses for Kids. It would 'set us on a path to 100 percent clean buses,' according to the White House.

Public Transit: Biden calls on Congress to invest $165 billion in public transit. This includes modernizing existing transit and expanding those systems. It would double federal funding for an area that is a top part of state and local budgets. According to the White House it would 'bring bus, bus rapid transit, and rail service to communities and neighborhoods across the country' without specifying which ones, and claims it would 'ultimately reduce traffic congestion for everyone.' 

Lead pipes: After a campaign where the Flint drinking water fiasco became a top issue for Democrats, the proposal includes $45 billion for a plan to eliminate all lead pipes used in water distribution. The funds would be administered through EPA's Drinking Water State Revolving Fund and in Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act grants to localities. 

'Made in America': 'Made in America' provisions on manufacturing and shipping. According to the White House, it will 'require that goods and materials are made in America and shipped on U.S.-flag, U.S.-crewed vessels.' Similar 'made in America' provisions are common in legislation. The White House says its plan 'will ensure that Americans who have endured systemic discrimination and exclusion for generations finally have a fair shot at obtaining good paying jobs and being part of a union.'

Bridge and highway modernization: $115 billion to modernize the bridges, highways, roads, and main streets in 'critical need'. The White House cites statistics saying 173,000 total miles of highways are in poor condition, along with 45,000 bridges. The plan also calls for funds to repair 10,000 'smaller bridges' that provide 'critical connections to rural and tribal communities'.

Protect cyclists and pedestrians: Bikes, too, would get a share of the billions. The package includes $20 billion for safety - including funds to 'reduce crashes and fatalities, especially for cyclists and pedestrians'. 

Biden will announce a $174 billion to boost the markets for electric vehicles. Rebates and tax incentives to buy American-made EVs

Transit: Biden is calling for $85 billion to modernize existing transit. A Transportation Department figure cites a maintenance backlog of $105 billion, which includes 24,000 buses, 5,000 rail cars, 200 stations, plus track and other systems. The infusion, if enacted, would double the current federal funding. 

Amtrak: Biden, a lifetime rail enthusiast who used to commute by train between Wilmington and Washington, would shower $80 billion on Amtrak to modernize the system and improve the Northeast Corridor, which links D.C. to New York and points North. The money would go to fund repairs, boost safety and electrification, and connect new pairs of cities. Grants would 'support passenger and freight rail safety, efficiency, and electrification.'

Airports: The plan calls for $25 billion for airports, with funds going to the existing Airport Improvement Program. It also calls for upgrades to Federal Aviation Administration assets that 'ensure safe and efficient air travel,' with a new program for terminal renovations and connections. 

Waterways: The plan calls for $17 billion for inland waterways, coastal ports, land ports of entry, and ferries. 

Neighborhoods cut off by roads: President Biden wants $20 billion to reconnect neighborhoods cut off by highways and historic investments, plus research on 'advanced pavements'. A section on redressing 'historic inequities' mentions highways that plowed through communities in New Orleans and Syracuse.

Water restoration: Unspecified investment for 'the protection and restoration of major land and water resources like Florida’s Everglades and the Great Lakes'.

Broadband: Push for '100 percent high-speed broadband coverage' in the nation. Work with Congress to lower internet prices. The plan says Biden 'recognizes that individual subsidies to cover internet costs may be needed in the short term,' but thinks continually providing subsidies 'is not the right long-term solution.'

The 25 page plan includes 20 references to broadband technology – a modern facet that White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki also has been touting. 

The plan says Biden 'recognizes that individual subsidies to cover internet costs may be needed in the short term,' but thinks continually providing subsidies 'is not the right long-term solution.' 

Power grid: Build more resilient power system. Targeted investment tax credit to help build out 20 gigawatts of high-voltage capacity power lines.

Plug oil wells: Years after the Deepwater Horizon disaster, the plan calls for spending $16 billion to plug much smaller 'orphan' oil and gas wells that continue to affect the environment. 

Brownfields: Like many infrastructure plans of past years, Biden's includes funds to restore 'brownfields' in urban areas as well as to clean up Superfund cites. It calls for $5 billion in investments for the projects.

Workforce development to help distressed communities: Language on targeting workforce development programs in 'underserved communities' isn't as precise as the brick and mortar programs, in a plan that came out as the trial of former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin for the death of George Floyd was underway. 

'Structural racism and persistent economic inequities have undermined opportunity for millions of workers. All of the investments in workforce training will prioritize underserved communities and communities hit hard by a transforming economy,' according to the White House.

It calls for $12 billion to garget workers 'facing some of the greatest challenges' and '$5 billion over eight years in support of evidence-based community violence prevention programs.' 

 Industrial clean energy: 15 decarbonized hydrogen demonstration projects to get industry to use clean technology.

Civilian Climate Corps: $10 billion for new Civilian Climate Corps. It's unclear what this new unit will entail.

Affordable housing: $213 billion to 'produce, preserve, and retrofit more than two million affordable and sustainable places to live.' Includes 'project-based rental assistance.' $40 billion for public housing infrastructure.

Home energy: $27 billion Clean Energy and Sustainability Accelerator for home energy upgrades.

Schools: $100 billion to upgrade and build new public schools, half through grants and half through bonds.

Community colleges: $12 billion to invest in community college infrastructure.

Child care: $25 billion to upgrade child care facilities.

Veterans: $18 billion for VA hospitals.

Home care: $400 billion toward 'expanding access to quality, affordable home- or community-based care for aging relatives and people with disabilities'.

R&D: $35 billion in R&D investments. Includes $5 billion for climate research

HBCUs: $10 billion for R&D investment at historically black colleges and universities

Pandemics: $30 billion in pandemic counter measures. Includes investments in medical stockpile, testing, and research.

Power sources: $46 billion for charging ports, advanced nuclear reactors and fuel, electric heat pumps for buildings.

Dislocated workers: $40 building for dislocated workers.

Workforce training: Workforce training amid 'persistent economic inequalities': $12 billion for workforce development in 'underserved communities.' $5 billion for community violence prevention.

Apprenticeships: $48 billion in 'American workforce development' including 2 million new apprenticeships.

Enforcement: $10 billion to ensure fair and equal pay, workplace safety, and job sites 'free from racial, gender, and other forms of discrimination and harassment'.

(List courtesy, the Daily Mail)

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Reminder: Coast Dems Club Meeting On Thursday, 4-1-21 @ 6 PM

Celebrate Earth Day!

Report From The Mendocino County 

Climate Action Advisory Committee


Tess Albin, Fort Bragg City Councilmember & District 4 Representative to the MCCAAC

Randy MacDonald, Executive Committee, Sierra Club Mendocino Group & Redwood Chapter; & District 5 Representative to the MCCAAC

Recommendations from the first MCCAAC Annual Report to the Board of Supervisors on 3/22

MCCAAC - Opportunities and Obstacles

We will also have a short report about upcoming activities preparing to defend Governor Newsom from the recall campaign

Karen Bowers' Zoom Meeting

When Thu Apr 1, 2021 6pm-7:30pm Pacific Time - Los Angeles

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 897 9098 9463

Passcode: Club2021

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  1. Stephen Dunlap April 1, 2021

    Pardee Bardwell – neither party has a lock on hypocrisy

  2. Kathy April 1, 2021

    I wonder what evidence Mr. Shields has that PG&E performed a PSPS? The outage looked like a transmission line failure…

    • Jim Shields April 1, 2021

      The outage map showed the notation “PSPS” the abbreviation for “Public Safety Power Shutoff.”

  3. Marshall Newman April 1, 2021

    Italian Swiss Colony, or Asti as many called it, was one of the North Coast’s biggest tourist attractions in the late 1950s and early 1960s. People would flock to the winery tasting room. In addition to wine tasting, postcards were free and the winery would even mail them free of charge at the Asti post office.

    • Marmon April 1, 2021

      I loved those “that little old winemaker me” commercials.

      Here’s one:


      • Marshall Newman April 1, 2021

        “That little old winemaker, me,” line was voiced by the one and only Jim Backus. Yes, Thurston Howell from “Gilligan’s Island.”

    • George Hollister April 1, 2021

      Back then there were two national brands; Italian Swiss Colony, and Gallo. Also there was limited choice, and most wine came in a one gallon jug.

      • chuck dunbar April 1, 2021

        About 50 years ago, living in an urban c ommune and young and lively, I have this memory of buying a gallon of Gallo wine for a party. Sad thing is, I dropped the darn thing on our concrete steps, and of course it broke– that’s a lot of wasted wine. But we bought another one and had our party.

      • Bruce McEwen April 1, 2021

        My father-in-law worked for CalTrans and after a semi-truck and trailer wreck on I-5 back in the early 70s, the dear old man, God rest his soul, he brought home to me a truckload of Gallo hearty burgundy in huge gallon bottles w/ old Ernesto and Julio Gallo’s flushed faces beaming from the label. That wine was superior to any 98 point pinot grown in Boonville today, by golly!

    • Rye N Flint April 1, 2021

      Wow! I had no idea! I’ve always wondered about the adopt-a-highway sign for the “Italian Swiss Colony”.

  4. chuck dunbar April 1, 2021

    That Little Insult Yesterday

    Dear Lord, that Mr. Marmon—
    My tender feelings he’s just harmin’.
    Says to “get my head out of the fog.”
    He’s darn mean, not real charmin’.

    But my revenge comes so quickly,
    As I recall old Conway Twitty.
    And write a nonsense poem
    That I wish was smart and witty!

  5. Bruce McEwen April 1, 2021

    I’ve drunk my share of Swiss Colony wine, cute little baskets around the bottles, my landlord in Ukiah gave me a case of it — long past it’s sell-by date, and not a wine that ages well unless used as vinegar.

    And yes, Chuck, James can be tedious, if not callous, in his comments, but as an old courthouse hack, I must say he’s doing a pretty good job of covering the trial for those of us who don’t want to watch it. Keep us posted, Mr. Marmon, if you please.

    • Harvey Reading April 1, 2021

      Ask yourself this: “Would I ever ask for, or take advice–on any subject–from, the aforementioned man?” I know my answer to myself would be a resounding, “NEVER!”

      • Bruce McEwen April 1, 2021

        I wasn’t asking for advice, or anything but a report. Now, lemme ask you this: Would you at least take a warning from such a man as the aforementioned?

        • Harvey Reading April 1, 2021

          No way.

      • Marmon April 1, 2021

        I would prefer that you refer to me in gender neutral terms.


    • chuck dunbar April 1, 2021

      I’d only ask of James to try to be somewhat objective and report the prosecution’s side, as well as the defense’s side. It’s clear, early on without hearing all the evidence, who he’s rooting for. So, hard as it might be, it would be good if he can just report “the facts” of the case so we won’t be tempted to remember that great Conway Twitty song, “It’s Only Make Believe.”

      • George Hollister April 1, 2021

        It is pretty easy to see who the NYT is rooting for, too.

  6. Kirk Vodopals April 1, 2021

    Re: photo of Ferndale… my hometown! still the most magical place in my mind to grow up. We had it better than Boonville I’d surmise: you could walk down main street without getting run over by 50 mph vehicles. I could run around all day and night as a child and never feel unsafe. But luckily I got out and went to high school in Eureka because Ferndale High is notorious for turning out alcoholics

  7. Rye N Flint April 1, 2021


    Cloroform was banned by the EPA in 1973. Been pretty rare since then. References to it’s dubious uses, have also started to fade with time.

  8. Rye N Flint April 1, 2021

    RE: THE FAMILY-OWNED Mendocino Redwood Company, formerly L-P, formerly Masonite, got off to a good public relations start in 1998.

    Masonite and the Weger family (Giant Redwood Stump Gas Station Museum) used to pay to repave and maintain Orr Springs road. Rumor has it they stopped about 15 Years ago.

    • George Hollister April 1, 2021

      Masonite had the switchbacks above Orrs Springs paved, once. That was in the late 1970s when they logged some property a mile or two down river from the Hot Springs. At the time Orr Springs Road was unsurfaced, with the exception of the grade coming up from Ukiah. My impression at the time was the truckers hauling logs from the Masonite job were concerned they might have trouble hauling logs through the switchbacks. Paving the switchbacks was supposed to solve the problem. It seemed to do that. The pavement was asphalt, and that asphalt is still there today.

  9. Rye N Flint April 1, 2021


    With the former Howard Hospital building in Willits no longer an option due to it being sold to another entity, Fifth District Supervisor Ted Williams said he wanted to explore the “Ranch Proposal” submitted by Deputy Mendocino County Health Officer Noemi Doohan, even though the parcels first suggested for the facility may no longer be available.

    “I want to hear more about the Ranch proposal, and specifically see the financial feasibility, and whether the state has any additional funds to pull it off,” Williams said. “It looks like an innovative model, given the inherent NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) attitudes surrounding a mental health facility, so locating it in the unincorporated, far from neighbors, seems like it has maybe some potential?”

  10. chuck dunbar April 1, 2021

    For Bruce Mc. and Michael K.:

    I’m reading Paul Theroux’s fine book, “On the Plain of Snakes,” as I believe several others in the AVA community are. Last night I came across his reportage of an extended stay in Mexico City and thought of the recent AVA flaneur discussions:

    “As time went on, I fribbled the days away as a flaneur, became lazy and presumptuous in the manner of a city dweller, and developed the big-city vices of procrastination, eating late, sleeping longer, yakking in cafes and pretending to be busy….”

    I have to admit I did not learn until recently what flaneur meant. My wife, who knows lots of life stuff, educated me.

    • George Hollister April 1, 2021

      I had to look it up again, and still don’t know how to pronounce it. How about just say lazy bastard. Everyone understands that.

  11. Marmon April 1, 2021

    So, Officer Chauvin’s Supervisor testified today that the knee to the neck restraint was agency policy at the time of the incident with Mr. Floyd. They have since eliminated that tactic.

    Also we learned a lot today about Mr. Floyd’s drug use. He was a heavy user.


    • Marmon April 1, 2021

      We also learned today that Mr. Floyd referred to his drug addicted girlfriend as Momma, a very significant discovery.


      • john ignoffo April 2, 2021

        “Very significant” ?

    • chuck dunbar April 1, 2021

      And we learned a good deal the first 2 days about the human beings who witnessed this event, as members of the community, and how they saw it and how they felt as their lived experience. And also how they viewed the cops’ actions, and how they offered to help but could not, and how they cried and were in grief at what happened right in front of them. I know you saw it all James (as you’ve said you are watching the entire trial), but no mention of this part of the trial at all by you. I wonder why? BTW, George Floyd is not on trial….

      • Marmon April 1, 2021

        The humans who witnessed the event missed the first 12 minutes


      • Bruce McEwen April 1, 2021

        “…George Floyd is not on trial,” and for it to seem that way before defense ever gets to present their case, if they have one, well… it don’t look good for conviction, and you might as well admit, Marmon gives us his impressions succinctly enough. His enthusiasm for the defendant can’t be denied, but that’s all to the good for those of us who know him; you know, Hawkeye, he’s Frank Burns, and like Trapper said, “It saves time, Frank.” When Burns wondered aloud in his peevish way “Why does everyone take an instant dislike to me?”
        So, true, he’s not all that likeable but we all know where he’s coming from, and this makes his reports, terse as they may be, insightful.

        • Marmon April 1, 2021

          I conducted hundreds of investigations during my career as a Child Welfare Social Worker. I found it important to let the facts lead the case, not emotion.


          • Bruce McEwen April 1, 2021

            Carry on.

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