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Off the Record (April 14, 2021)

MY FAVORITE local attorney, far and away, has always been Jared Carter, the go to guy for the Northcoast’s forces of destruction. The old boy’s getting on, but in his prime at public meetings, his performances were comic masterpieces, inadvertent division. 

CARTER always seemed personally offended that he and Mendo’s most rapacious kulaks were being challenged. One of his main moves was to throw a contemptuously inclusive, over-the-shoulder gesture at the audience, as he fairly shouted, “Now these people....” The implication being that “these people” were the hippies, deadbeats, irresponsible non-Republicans opposing whatever ghastly project Carter and Friends were up to.

HE ALSO SEEMED to be regarded by his indefensible clients as something of an intellectual. When Charles Hurwitz, the Texas pirate, set about looting Pacific Lumber of its carefully managed forests while also helping himself to its worker’s pension fund, Carter came up with the notion that any interference with people like Hurwitz amounted to “takings,” the appropriation of their private property! Naturally, this cockamamie argument went over boffo with the Nixonian meatballs he represented.

WHICH REMINDED ME: IN 1998 CDF did a week-long crackdown on Pacific Lumber. It was regulatory show biz at its best. CDF had informed Pacific Lumber that it had lost its license because of its numerous violations of timber harvest plans. But, having grabbed the headlines for a day in a terminally cynical but effective ploy to pretend that there’s effective government oversight of the timber industry, on New Year’s Day, when much of the country was asleep or inattentive from hangovers, CDF announced it had reinstated PL’s logging license — that PL had magically gotten back into compliance with the regs.

I HAD A FEW encounters with Carter via demand letters he had served on me for a couple of offended friends of his. Demand letters are lawyer letters that say either retract whatever it was that offended the client or else Carter would sue, His process server was a Ukiah pal of Carter’s who fairly danced down my driveway with the demand letter: “Got ya this time, big boy.” But our information was sound, and truth is a defense against libel claims, so I was never sued by Mr. Takings. In fact, Carter’s demand letters were always an opportunity to re-publish the alleged offense.

WE’RE TALKING major institutional memory here at the Boonville weekly, all the way back to 1970. While other media have come and gone we, out of pure inertia and lack of ambition, have stayed, all that time keeping a skeptical eye on doings behind The Green Curtain.

ONE MORE BLAST at Carter, and typical of his mafia-like tactics. I think it was ‘98 when Carter threatened the entire town of Fort Bragg, declaring that if the town’s popular Fire Marshal, Jim Rutherford, wasn’t gone by January 1st, Carter, acting on behalf of a tiny minority of Fort Bragg developers, among them at least one overt criminal, who assumed they were exempt from the rules — in this case the fire code the town had just adopted after hiring Rutherford to help write it and enforce it — would sue to get him gone. Never was a suit, but that’s the way these big fish in Mendo’s miniscule pond, operate. 

FORT BRAGG ADVOCATE, APRIL 7, 1972: “The plans for development of a 24-hour mental health facility known as Crisis House have been temporarily halted. Staff from the Fort Bragg Mental Health Services have consulted with the County Mental Health Advisory Board and with the Mental Health Director and have determined that the mental health situation for the entire county is in a state of change.”

AT LAST a morning tv person who not only looks like a real person, but delivers the information with verve, even joy. Ladies and Germs, especially you Germs, introducing Ms. Reyna Harvey KRON 4 weather lady. 

Reyna Harvey

FROM KTVU: “It is unclear if the woman was targeted for her race; still, it's yet another incident of violence against members of the Asian community in the Bay Area. A neighbor who witnessed the robbery from across the street told KTVU that another, similar incident took place just a few weeks earlier targeting another Asian woman.”

STREET MUGGINGS of vulnerable people in San Francisco of all ethnicities have been a fact of Frisco life since the middle 1960s. Even I, a lumbering young lout still in his twenties, would be sized up by street thugs when I walked home late at night from my cab driving headquarters at 8th and Townsend to my Chinatown apartment at Stockton and Sacramento. I carried a nifty little Beretta .22 at the time, my occupation being an unusually hazardous one. The diff now is that thugs are often motorized, cruising the streets at all hours looking for vics. Spotting one, a thug leaps out from a stolen or disguised vehicle to grab what he can from likely prospects. Asians are called “ATM’s” by street punks. (BTW, the open air criminality on Market Street from 6th up to around Polk, features Guatemalan drug dealers, who get a free pass because of San Francisco's “Sanctuary City” status. All of this is what life looks like in a country that has lost its way.)

KATE COLEMAN, from her 2002 article called, “The Ghosts of Hoover Tangle with Earth First (and lose”): “.....But one FBI source hooted that idea down, saying derisively, “Judi Bari was not a danger to the United States; she wasn’t even a blip on the radar. No lefties are. They’re rich kids who run home to their parents for lawyers the minute they’re arrested. I’ll tell you who’re the most dangerous people — it’s the right wing. I’ve lost three friends and colleagues over the years — and to whom? Right wingers. They’re the threat. The idea that we targeted these environmental lefties is ludicrous.”

WHICH is about right, but Dave Foreman's Earth First! was a big blip on the FBI's screen and, I'm confident, EF! on the Northcoast was a large enough blip that the feds set up a 60's style listening post called the Mendocino Environment Center in a building owned by John McCowen at 106 West Standley Street, Ukiah, conveniently across the street from the County Courthouse. EF! was assumed to be involved in what is called industrial sabotage, a federal crime, which Bari and Darryl Cherney advocated then claimed they hadn't. 

REDWOOD SUMMER, organized by Bari, would presumably draw industrial sabs from all over the country to the Northcoast where Bari, the Fagin-like feminist, would dispatch them to destroy logging equipment. Of course the FBI was keeping an eye on all this, and who knows how many local snitches they had helping them out. Then Bari was partially blown up in Oakland, and saving the redwoods became a long, lucrative campaign by Bari  that she, Cherney and the gorgons she surrounded herself with lived nicely off for years as they claimed to be amassing the money to sue the FBI and the Oakland PD for, essentially, false arrest. Bari and Cherney promised if they won a settlement, the money invested in their case by coast-to-coast pwog-dupes, they would plant a whole lotta trees. The Feds managed somehow to lose to Bari and Cherney who walked away with $4.4 million in winnings, Cherney bought a dope farm outside Garberville, Bari's two already wealthy daughters became millionaires, Bari told journalist Steve Talbot that her ex-husband, Mike Sweeney, had bombed her, and Bari died of her injuries seven years after Sweeney had done it. Not a single tree was ever planted, even in Bari’s memory.

THE WEASEL-LIPPED piece of insincerity published recently by the Press Democrat said editorially that the paper regretted not getting on to the big Foppoli story when the paper first heard about it. Foppoli is mayor of Windsor, vintner, alleged rapist. The paper can win a non-controversial Pulitzer when a natural disaster strikes, but squelches its own reporters when they tried to write about Sonoma County's infamous chomo, Bishop Ziemann; refused to cover the winery death of Taylor Atkins because of Williams-Selyem negligence even after that negligence was confirmed by CAL-OSHA (The winery paid a $6400 fine for the kid's death; the paper ignored the firing of talented talk hostess Pat Thurston from KSRO because powerful people resented her opinions; and turned a blind eye to any serious Bari bombing follow-up in the immediate aftermath of that mega-suspicious episode. And, because a huge hunk of their advertising comes from the wine industry, never a story about wine labor, housing, chemical use, water policy.

PD REPORTER Mike Geniella, who covered Mendo for the PD at the time, could have puzzled out who was responsible for the bombing if he'd been assigned to do it. With his local contacts, plus a full-time investigator (of the DA's Bailey-Alvarado tenacity), could have wrapped that story up in a month. Instead, it remains a “mystery.” Unfortunately, the last real editor the PD has had, Art Volkerts, had retired by 1990, and Geniella had been removed from reporting on any timber-related story. The PD waits until a big story is out there then, if the story is safe enough for them, rides down out of the hills to shoot the wounded. 

DA EYSTER took a fall Wednesday about noon while crossing Perkins at State as he headed south to the County parking lot on the other side of the brewery. A casualty of Ukiah's endless street construction or his own failing agility? And since the DA was headed to the area of the brewery and not from when he fell, he was not submitted to a breathalyzer. Joking aside, Mendo's lead law enforcement officer fractured his left arm in two places - elbow and wrist. but he was back at it the next day doing jury selection for an upcoming trial.

HEMINGWAY, JEEZ. Sailing along the PBS doc on the creative lit genius the other night, when it arrives at Part Three, where Hem begins to lose it. Or does he? Maybe he's just a lowdown, mean bastard who happens to have this great gift, but his slam at James Jones, also a great writer but one with only his first novel, the wonderful “From Here to Eternity” under his belt, gets an insult from Hemingway as vile as an insult can be. I'd never heard either of it or about it before and was shocked, at least as shocked as an ancient person who has seen pretty much what there is to see in base human behavior. And totally undeserved for Jones, a young man at the time, suddenly insulted in demented terms by the number one writer in the language. It would kinda be like YoYo Ma unloading on the cellist for the Ukiah community orchestra. PBS bleeped the N-word part of the insult but, yes, Hemingway went that low. He went on to write ‘The Old Man and the Sea,’ which is not the work of a crazy person, so how far off was he when he went off on Jones? Also, the great man's treatment of his four wives is additional evidence that he was a bullying oaf in his personal life. I felt like cheering when his third, Martha Gellhorn, up and left him.

FROM A LETTER in Sunday's Ukiah Daily Journal: “…I am urging Chief Justin Wyatt to follow the example of Minneapolis police Chief Medaria Arradondo. Within days of the death of George Floyd at the hands of officers of his department, Arradondo fired the men responsible. All the officers, of course, had recourse to their union for appealing any decision that they viewed as unfair. The police involved in the brutal gang attack on Mr. Magdaleno will enjoy the same recourse if Chief Wyatt does what’s right and expresses our community’s abhorrence of their depravity by dismissing them. Let Chief Wyatt set an example in this case: Ukiah won’t shield gang violence with police badges.”

Gerardo Magdaleno

THIS IS A NEAT local example of the national hysteria which assumes cops are driving around recreationally beating people up and murdering them, especially black and brown people. So in the above para we get the spectacular false equivalence of Magdaleno and George Floyd, and the Ukiah cops as a badged gang who jumped Magdaleno because the Ukiah cops are “depraved.”

IN FACT, Magdaleno, a young, large, strong twenty-five year old, was loaded on a pcp-like drug that gives its consumers much more strength than they usually have. He took his clothes off and, nude, proceeded to roar menacingly in the middle of South State Street.

THE UKIAH PD has been dealing with Magdaleno since 2015. He's one of these local mentals — there are at least a dozen of them — beyond the dubious abilities of Mendocino County's 31-agency “continuum of care,” which only cares for the “reimburseables,” and them only if they are more or less manageable. (They also are extremely attentive to their own funding and general welfare.) A big, strong, young psycho? In 1950, Magdaleno would have been sequestered in a state hospital until he got a grip, but America long ago lost its way, and there is no treatment or safe sequestration for the thousands of Magdalenos out there. He'll continue to be cycled in and out of the County Jail, and the Ukiah Police Department will be dealing with him for years to come.

ADMIT IT. SOMETIMES VULGARITY IS FUNNY: Bumpersticker on a Honda in downtown Ukiah: “Spiritual as Fuck.” And then there’s, “Fuckin' kids.”

ON LINE COMMENTS OF THE WEEK

[1] Pete Davidson, the SNL actor / comedian, who also suffers from mental health issues, made an observation recently that I found true. Paraphrasing: having a mental illness isn’t an excuse to be an asshole. Take your meds. Stay on your meds. Lots of people are assholes but keep it under control. Lots of people have mental health issues but keep them under control.

Family always comes along after the fact, wringing their hands and complaining that their kid / brother / father / whoever just needed help, and has issues, and yadda yadda yadda. Where is the family when dude is going slowly more and more crazy and needs to be corralled and made to take his meds? They ain’t around. Because ain’t nobody care until they smell blood (or money) in the water. They let their family member reach a point where the only intervention becomes the cops, because they let their family member slowly lose more and more of a grip and did nothing.

Crazy “assholes” (Pete Davidson’s self-descriptive term) eventually become crazy assholes that get naked, fight cops and don’t go with the program. If force is needed to bring said crazy asshole into custody and protect the public, protect the cops, and – frankly – protect the crazy asshole – then force gets used. It’s not pretty, but neither is letting a mental illness fester for years and then foisting it off on the police to handle once it’s become an untenable situation like a meth’d out naked violent dude roaming up Main Street.

If you don’t like the way the cops handle crazy, then don’t call them for crazy. Call the county mental health department and let them figure out how to catch a naked, violent guy in the middle of the street and medicate him accordingly. The cops, I am sure, would be way more happy to just go write speeding tickets to normal people than to deal with naked nutjobs.

[2] So much wrongness.

Any mask – cloth, surgical, etc. – catch some or most of the little droplets of spittle that exit your piehole when you breath or talk. If you have the virus in your airway, those droplets are infectious. This can be true even when you are pre-symptomatic, or never develop symptoms. Masks contain these tiny droplets and keep them out of the air.

Covid virus doesn’t float around on its own, the virus particles stay stuck to the little dried out remains of those mucous droplets that you breathed out. Lucky for us because the virus particles are quite small (50-200 nanometers) but the “droplet nuclei” are 25-100 larger (5 microns or less) which can be filtered out by an N95 respirators which is, as the name suggests, 95% effective at 2.5 microns and pretty good below that. Facemasks still filter the majority, and cloth masks about half. Anything is better than nothing.

Masks and respirators don’t catch everything that you exhale, nor everything in the air you inhale, but even still they can keep you from getting sick by reducing the overall viral load. Whether you get sick or not and how bad depends in part on how many virus particles you breath in and how far down they lodge in the mucous membranes of your airway.

Folks, masks and respirators serve two purposes and are proven to be effective at both. One is keeping your snot from infecting other people. The other is filtering out whatever is unavoidably floating in the air, including the dried up snot from people who are exercising their “patriotic freedoms”.

[3] In other news, Prince Philip, the Queen’s husband, is dead at 99. He once said he would like to be reincarnated as a deadly virus so he could kill a few hundred million people (since there are too many people in the world). What a lovely, gracious thought about those who supported him in a long life of luxury. He certainly deserves to have the next pandemic named in his honor. 

[4] It’s possible that policing as we’ve known it will disappear within our lifetimes. That is, a public force, well trained and equipped, paid for with taxpayers’ $, that serves all, rich and poor, to guarantee some version of enforcing the law for all.

Before the tomatoes start flying in my direction, I add that of course I’m aware of some citizens being more equal than others, pockets of corruption, bad apples, etc. However, most policemen I’ve known are fundamentally decent people, and doing society a great service. 

On the one hand, you have the Wall St Journal displaying full ads for a robotics co. promoting non-human, AI enabled enforcers. Mayors are looking at that, and wondering, if we have to pay $27M to the family of every no-good criminal who happens to die in our custody while OD’ing on something, and that’s even before a trial, maybe the robocops are a good investment. They can’t be racist or biased. Technology always makes everything better, is the mantra of the age. Shite, but most people believe it. 

Then you have a demoralized police force, pelted with rocks, unable to do what they need to do because of politicians and corporations and the media will crucify them.

Soon, they’ll start the exodus to new privatized security corps, is my bet. Enclaves of the wealthy and the elite will have top notch security, probably a mix of robots, electronic surveillance and rent a cops. 

The rest will slowly descend into lawlessness. You get burglarized or attacked, you call the public force… they may or may not show up… if they do, they won’t move unless you bribe them… depending on the amount of the bribe, they may have a word with the perps, but unless you keep the $ coming their way, you’re defenseless again after they leave… sort of a mafia racket. The best will be long gone into safer, better paying jobs w private security.

That’s how the Third World works, start getting used to it. The security racket will be right up there with the health-care racket in this country, that is… you get what you pay for. If you can’t pay, you get nothing. All this BLM nonsense is just noise. The system, our Babylon, thrives on firing people, making them unnecessary and unwanted, demonizing them, pitting them against each other. The public servants that provide a modicum of security to all are next on the chopping block, to be replaced, automated, outsourced, tossed like a used condom.

[5] My, my, a lot of negative thinking today. War will do us in, either the China-Taiwan war, the Russia-Ukraine war, or the Israeli-Iran war (I may be forgetting some other world-ending conflicts). 

Or maybe we’ll all die in the new ice-age that’s coming, or are we going to fry in global warming? Or when we run out of oil, desertification, wide-area fires, and water depletion? The US is doomed, we’ve been taken over by communists, while this new situation – corruption – is taking us down. Oh, yeah, chem-trails will kill millions and God is preparing to end us, btw.

And looming over all this is mass death-by covid vaccines.

C’mon you guys, adjust your tinfoil hats and add more creative – if old – scenarios, like an asteroid strike, lizard-men created destruction, Yellowstone exploding, world-ending pole shifts, the sun turning off or giving us a CME hotfoot. Hey, I’ll even do my part and add the end- of-the-world coming at us when we approach a huge poisonous gas cloud region as we rotate around the galaxy.

I tell ya, why even bother! We should just lie down and die now to avoid all the worrying. After all, we will either be dead or spit-roasting rats, anyway, soon enough.

[6] BULLETS IN FIRES: When bullets burn , the projectile doesn’t leave the casing with the same force as if it were fired through a barrel of a firearm, in fact in most fires the projectile is found within a few feet if not inches of the case simply because there is nothing confining the gassed released from the powder burn behind the bullet, meaning most if not all of the potential force is lost. With the exception of any rounds that happen to be chambered in a barrel.

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