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Off the Record (June 23, 2021)

COUNTRY WOMEN ALBION. Deborah Silva alerts us to a major blast from the past: "I received an email from Beat Books, a UK website that sells a lot of hippie dippy publications and whatnot. One of the magazines offered this time is something called ‘Country Women’ published in Albion 1973-1979. I'd never heard of it, but then I've been in Amnesia County for only 17 years. With a little online searching I found that Independent Voices website has archived all but the first two issues of the magazine and they are available to read online. “

THE COUNTY paid roughly $2 million or so out of covid money for an abandoned and hugely depressing stalag-like former medical rehab structure for the county's psych unit, the long awaited PUFF (PHF). The building, at Whitmore and South State, is in severe disrepair. The CEO estimates it will cost Measure B money to the tune of up to $25 million and four years to build for use as a 16-bed psych facility. This building will basically be a jail for the mentally ill. (It comes with barred windows.) If mental health at least partly depends on what things look like, this structure is sure to make crazy people crazier. The following are two comments about it:

(1) Hey, I have a co-worker friend who works for the maintenance department. He has told me that Whitmore Lane’s entire roof is collapsed. The building is filled with food for the disaster operation Centre (doc) Stuff that's never been used. Tons of food and water and supplies. There's a golf course putting green in there right now. If you can get anybody in to get some pictures. Apparently it is so bad and it was known that this was going on before they purchased the building.

(2) The previous owner knew of the dilapidated repair of the building. That is why the building was closed and not used for so long. It needed so much for repairs they could never be done and there was never an inspection given before the hurry up purchase was done. I really question whether that's one of Carmel's friends. And Who the hell's going to be the construction crew that's going to deliver for us to put $25 million into that building? They're talking about these other agencies and they don't want any new or in better shape building or what the hell about the RCS Monopoly. It's the same thing. Everybody talks in goddamn circles.

I FEARED THAT BIDEN, left alone with Putin, the two of them would emerge from their secret session to announce that Russian is now the official language of the United States. It's surreal that the entire lib media present Biden as if he's a fully functioning person, a viable president for “the richest nation on earth.” Of course Biden succeeds the least plausible person in the history of the country, if not the world, but still…

THE LIB MEDIA was on Trump 24-7 while Biden, just as implausible, gets a pass while the rest of us try to re-connect the disconnect of a guy so clearly past it he's not allowed to answer any questions other than those he's been prepped for, and even then he constantly screws up. But everywhere in lib media Biden’s presented as the second coming of FDR. We joke about the Last Days and the End Times, but could the global stage be better arranged for major catastrophes?

HIGHLY AMUSING story in last week's Independent Coast Observer called, “Uproar at Arena Cove over parking lot repair project” by reporter Bryan Cebulski. Mr. Cebulski is a new name to me, and a new guy who may not be aware that the meeting he wrote up was typical of hurry-up Mendo meetings, in that many of the truculent attendees claimed not to have known the project was under consideration. 

TYPICAL? Yes, Mendo people seem to require personal notification of all matters even remotely affecting them, otherwise they show up as a mob claiming they've been had. “Nobody told me me me me meeeeeeeeee!” Posters and repeat newspaper announcements are insufficient notification, although this particular project has been underway for four years. 

BUT SOCIAL MEDIA, that fountain of perpetual misinformation, finally roused a significant portion of PA's fog-bound population to show up in person to say that they didn't like the project which, basically, is another expensively futile attempt to shore up the Arena Cove parking area against storms, sea rise and the occasional tsunamis like the one that wiped out the previous pier area, a romantic cluster of old structures and pre-War nostalgia that many of us still miss. 

ONE EXASPERATED ATTENDEE quoted by reporter Cebulski said of his experience, “It was like talking to a fucking third grader.” (The chaste editors at the ICO printed the f-bomb as “f---ing,” thus sparing us all major trauma.) The half-million-dollar project will go forward unless the city council steps in to stop it, which is highly unlikely given that the project manager is Richard Shoemaker, who has milked Point Arena for years, most recently as part-time city manager at $50k annually, with an assistant city manager yet! (Who has now succeeded Shoemaker.) 

POINT ARENA'S population is about 450 persons. Prior to getting majorly hustled by Shoemaker, who is also a retired county supervisor out of Ukiah, Point Arena got by just fine with a town clerk.

A CALLER, laughing, began, “You know why Shoemaker got away with ripping off Point Arena? Look at the city councils we’ve had over here — drug dealers, drunks, and a murder suspect. We've got more crooks per capita in Pint Arena than any town in the county.” 

HMMM. The crooks-per-capita standard applied to Mendo is for sure a spirited competition given the high percentage of our citizens engaged in off-the-books enterprise. 

SHADES OF BASSLER! Looking much thinner and generally worse for the effort of eluding constant searches for him, Elk's famous fugitive, Red Beard, popped up again last week in the same Cameron Road home that he burglarized a month ago, inspiring the mobilization of the CHP, Mendo deputies, specialized SWAT personnel from the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office, Humboldt County Sheriff's Office, Lake County Sheriff's Office, Santa Rosa Police Department, and Mendocino County Multi-Agency SWAT team.”

WILLIAM ALLAN EVERS is a 40 year-old white male adult, 6 feet 1 inch tall, weighing 180 pounds with brown eyes, brown hair and reddish facial hair. Skull or skulls tattoo on his right upper arm, “Demon face” tattoo on his upper left arm and unknown prominent tattoo on his chest. Currently wanted for an active No Bail arrest warrant by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation for Criminal Threats and should be considered armed and dangerous. (Sheriff’s presser)

MENDOCINO COUNTY'S Public Health Officer Dr. Andy Coren has yet to identify a big box store for covid cases, but has belatedly named a few of the Ukiah Valley's mom and pops where someone on-staff has been infected. Coren said he didn't intend “to be punitive.” 

BUT IT'S NOT only punitive as the businesses lose their more, uh, nervous customers, it's a departure from previous Health pressers where businesses are not named as covid-confirmed.

SO WHAT if a dishwasher or a masked server catches covid, the odds of a customer getting it, especially given that most people eating out at this point are fully vaxxed is virtually nil.

BUT18 MONTHS after covid breaks out our public health officer suddenly begins calling out businesses by name? No, the editor sniffed as he climbed up on his high horse, I won't name the identified small businesses, one of which is an old fave of mine, and where I will make a point of having lunch soon.

ASKED what led to the neo-press release policy of naming specific small businesses, Coren said he would “look into it.” 

THE ONGOING demonstrations at Jackson State don't seem to have involved state reps McGuire and Wood. Of course we couldn't expect their majesties to visit the site themselves to view CalFire's indefensible cash-in of a large portion of publicly-owned state property, but where will CalFire log next? Muir Woods, the Avenue of the Giants? McGuire and Wood have been in office long enough to have some influence with the anonymous CalFire bureaucrat who decided to log Jackson while lumber prices were sky high.

THE DEMONSTRATIONS at Jackson State Forest are about to go full-arrest ritual, as more and more people block Anderson Logging from access, and more and more people invade the logging site itself. We understand that Sheriff Kendall has been meeting with some of the enviro matriarchs — Linda Perkins of Albion for one — to try to reach an agreement that doesn't involve a lot of deputy time and lengthy arrest logistics. 

US AMERICANOS, as we move through 12 or even 16 years of formal education, don't get any economics, even if we ask for it. Which I did long ago at the college level, but all I remember from two semesters of Econ 101 was a lot of cheerleading that American capitalism was the best and only way of achieving the freedom we all were alleged to enjoy. No capitalism, no freedom. All I know about economics I learned on my own, not that I'd try to pass myself off as truly knowledgeable.

BUT WHEN I READ THAT “Wholesale prices in the U.S. increased at their fastest annual rate ever in May, driven by rising food prices, as soaring inflation threatens to derail the post-pandemic economic recovery,” I think inflation has been soaring for at least two years, and the central banking system (privately owned) has been manufacturing inflation by creating money simply by moving digits around because the primary function of Federal Reserve is to protect the wealthy who own it, as we saw in 2008 when criminals were bailed out with fresh money because they were “too big to fail.” 

FORT BRAGG needs to suppress Jacob Patterson, an obsessive-unto-mentally ill character who has previously brought a bogus race case against the town and has since harassed city staff with unfounded, endless demands on staff time. (Taking advantage of antiquated state law, Patterson had previously picked up a quick and easy thirty grand claiming FB discriminated against Mexicans; it would have cost the city more to contest the claim than pay this pest off. BTW, the NorthCliff Motel has one floor too many because owner Dominic Affinito kept suing the city until the city couldn't afford to stay in court. ) 

AS CHRIS CALDER'S excellent account of Fort Bragg's first public meeting of its city council since the plague began points out, Patterson's mother sits on the town's Planning Commission, and we can assume is feeding sonny boy misinformation or misinterpreted information that he uses to harass the city. Patterson has previously bombarded city staff with a barrage of unreasonable requests but turned up at the meeting to blather on in person. 

WE LEARN from Calder's account that Patterson has also been observed taking photographs of at least one city staffer's home, behavior which has understandably unnerved city workers, and begging the question, How dangerous is this nut? He isn't the first crazy lawyer to land in Mendocino County, but the others were merely wacky. Or drunk. But this guy, who lives with his Planning Commission mom has done this kind of thing before at his previous venues, but his behavior lately seems ever more unhinged.

‘AMERICA IS BACK.’ Biden seems to think if he can repeat it often enough we might muddle on through. But America is not back, and won't be back. The country is hopelessly divided and unraveling so fast in so many ways that Biden's cheerleading for unreality is simply further proof that he and his unimpressive team are accelerating the looming chaos. 

SPEAKING OF STATS, from next week’s Mental Health Services Report to the Board of Supervisors:

Unduplicated persons served: 3362 (An impressively large number considering Mendocino County's total population of about 90,000

Crisis Assessments: 2289

Hospitalizations: 597

Medication Management Services: 983

Redwood Quality Management, aka Mr. and Mrs. Schraeder, a private business, provides these privatized services out of an annual budget/contract of roughly $20 million public dollars. 

“ONE OF MY FIRST memorable experiences as a reporter in Fort Bragg was seeing a dead person for the first time, outside a funeral. Seeing dead people is something you will probably end up doing if you stay a reporter long enough, in more ways than one.

It was a woman, who could have been drunk, or just laying in the shallow surf for some reason, except there was just the slightest trail of foam coming from the side of her mouth. That was the only thing that said she was gone.

She had been on her honeymoon. Her new husband had rented a 16-foot boat and taken her for a morning cruise up and down the shoreline. A 16-foot boat is very small, compared to the ocean.

It got foggy. He couldn't find the way back into Noyo Bay because he couldn't see. (The guy lived to tell about it). He came in close to shore to try to get his bearings and the boat got caught in the breakers and flipped. Neither wore lifejackets. He made it to a rock. She didn't.

To me the experience said something about the ocean, which is that it will dazzle you with beauty, but just as effortlessly take your life, for the least little mistake sometimes.

Every year probably half a dozen people drown in the ocean here, and there are probably 100 very close calls. There are a few dozen ocean rescues — all volunteer except the Coast Guard — without which several more people would probably die. What's always striking is how slim their margin of error was. One slip, one wrong turn, one bad decision.

Anyway, be careful on those rocks and cliffs and tidepools. I know even worse scared-straight stories, just not as romantic as that one. And I would not ever go out on the ocean in a boat, unless the person in charge had been doing it for a very long time. The old salts get surprised all the time, too. They just know what to do when that happens.”

— Chris Calder

CHUCK DUNLAP commented last week on the infamous fascist rising of January 6th in Washington: “Oh, come on James [Marmon] and Bruce [McEwen]: "The Democrats just tried to set up a bipartisan commission to fully investigate this whole matter. But the Republicans voted against it and killed it. God knows there are many facts about this whole thing that have not been fully investigated yet, but Tucker Carlson and Revolver News (!!!) are not the unbiased investigators who will gather all the facts and provide the nation with an honest report.”

MARMON had cited the Fox News bloviator, Carlson and Revolver News as his sources, neither of which I've ever seen but are generally regarded by most libs as howlingly unreliable. Those two dubious informants had apparently claimed the FBI was involved in the Jan 6 mob action in DC. I merely commented that the FBI, since its inception, had been infiltrating and attempting to subvert the American Left.

OF COURSE the FBI was involved in Jan 6, not as participants but as monitors and handlers of its snitch network who were involved. And they certainly would have known that some of the morons they were monitoring would be armed and dangerous.

TRADITIONALLY, the Feds set people up for felonies, thus solidifying their fearsome reputation among the credulous as ace sleuths. The FBI is a political police force. Always has been. Talk up political violence and you get federal police attention and, in my experience as a young subversive with his very own FBI file — they placed me at the famous Selma March of '65 when in fact I was in Borneo with the Peace Corps — I earned my FBI attention solely on the basis of my associations, at a time in the early sixties when the Bay Area civil rights movement involved a few communists from the old CPUSA. (The old joke was that half the people in the CP were FBI agents.) The Bay Area's Congress On Racial Equality was a reform movement, totally non-violent, but J. Edgar, a stone racist, spent his professional life complicating the lives of black activists, libeling Martin Luther King, among other leaders. My youngest brother was also the object of FBI interest for similar reasons to mine plus his two years in federal prison for refusing to register for the draft. Quick anecdote: One day two agents showed up at my brother's apartment to ask him if he had any guns. They apparently saw him as a potential assassin. One of the agents, noting his refusal to register for the draft, asked, “Mr. Anderson, would you fight if Mexico invaded the United States?” Bro answered, “No, but I will if Canada does.” The two G-men had themselves a real head scratcher.

NOT TO UNDERESTIMATE the Hoovers, especially now with all the techno-means of surveillance, but of course they're on the American fascisti big time, especially after January the 6th. Half this country's restive population is mobilized behind an implausible fuhrer in a country armed to its eyeballs so, natch, the FBI will be infiltrating and setting up people to commit felonies, as I suspect they've done in Michigan with those camo-clad fantasists who were allegedly plotting to kidnap the governor. Prediction: The Michigan case will be tossed for lack of evidence other than that provided by the FBI snitch in the group.

CLOSER TO HOME, it was clear that the FBI was working in Mendocino County in the Redwood Summer period because, windy Earth First!ers, including Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney, were publicly advocating industrial sabotage, a federal crime. 

I WON'T BORE YOU with further opinions about the FBI in Mendo, but in that 1990 period an agent of theirs named Fain, was revealed to have encouraged an Earth First! team to blow up a power installation in the Arizona desert. When the naive Luddites went out to do it — Gotcha! And off to the federal pen they went.

IN THE CURRENT edition of the New York Review of Books, a piece by Mark Danner, “The Insurgent Element,” refers to the Jan 6 event as a “coup.” Coup implies success, which Jan 6th was not. From my cooling station here in Boonville I’d say it wasn't even an attempted coup given its disorganization, but Danner raises some interesting points, including the fact that it isn't known what Trump was doing between the time he whipped up the mob to storm Congress and the suspicious lag time it took the feds to call out the troops. But given the on-rush of ominous events, and the pure numbers of estranged citizens we’ve got going in our consumer paradise, the police agency formed in the early part of the last century by a man who spent his evenings in a cocktail dress, will be spending a lot of time and money monitoring fat guys with guns.

A READER WRITES: “You nailed “strategic plan.” I have already added it to the two-words-for-one list, along with its pretentious cousin, “Mission Statement.” I once suggested to a client that his firm replace it with “Purpose” or “Our Goals” but they wanted a sanctimonious ring to their brochure because “people expect it.” Also, the word “mission” has religious overtones, which give me the creeps. (So does the word “holistic.”) Missionary evokes Spanish slavers in frocks and Bible-carrying Evangelicals making Central and South America safe for United Fruit and Chevron. Missionary, mercenary. two wings on the bird of prey. Plus “mission statement” just sounds so square.”

LIT CHAT: Peter Lit writes: “Thank you for recommending ‘The Steam Pig.’ What a view of apartheid and racism. I ordered several more of his Kramer/Zondi crime stories. The one I have finished, ‘Caterpillar Cop,’ was a ‘better crime/mystery story’ in ways, but not as revealing politically. Also read ‘Killing Commendatore’ by Haruki Murakami which is a thought provoking read, elements of Western mythology woven into a Japanese sensibility. I don't know what to think. Sometimes it seems like “woo-woo” nonsense, but like ‘A Hundred Years of Solitude,’ or ‘The War At The End Of The World’ or ‘The Unbearable Lightness of Being,’ it is compelling. I couldn't even tell you if it was well-written except that it grabs you. Anyway, thanks for McClure.”

I'VE BEEN READING Paul Theroux's travel books, which I highly recommend, especially for under-traveled persons like myself who aren't likely to get to Patagonia, or even England. Theroux gets to obscure destinations and stays long enough to write about them at intelligent length. Like a lot of book readers I always have a few others going at the same time as my major focus. In between Theroux's walking tour of England, I'm reading Hemingway's ‘Men Without Women’; Larry McMurtry's ‘Oh What A Slaughter’ and, for highbrow lit-crit, Elizabeth Hardwick on Melville. 

CAN'T HELP but notice that my grandchildren, in their spare moments, grab an electronic tablet rather than a book or magazine. The other day granddaughter was watching an instructive lady baking and icing a cake, while grandson was rapt at a guy building complicated Lego structures. They both read well, but I wonder at the long-term effects of so much screen time. The world has changed, my fellow print dinos. Images and noise prevail.

READERS of the on-line ava began bombarding us early this morning with complaints they couldn't get into the site. Neither could we. Like everyone else we're at the mercy of these mysterious electronic processes, which aren't made any less frustrating by seemingly explanatory but impenetrably cryptic messages from the vague, presumably human-type persons responsible. We were back up in full by 11:30am.

THIRD HAND REPORTS have it that an effort is underway in Round Valley to cite and fine unlicensed water trucks/carriers, but the citations are little more than traffic infractions and do not address where they’re getting their water, just the trucks and driver’s licenses. We have not seen any of them in the booking log so the illegality hasn’t risen to the level of misdemeanor. The authorities might have to impound a few trucks to make even a dent in the problem. 


[1] Lots of talk coming from #Sacramento about the 'nature-based delusions' that they peddle as 'climate solutions' but the real facts on the ground show that the Newsom Administration is more than happy to let CALFIRE get away with climate science denial and running roughshod over public concerns about their poor management of a critical state asset. Unfortunately, the list of natural resource professionals staying silent about the failures of 'sustainable forestry' and 'markets-based conservation' in the redwood region is far too long. We are facing ecological meltdown and the old boy network is still hammering away at the few big trees left on the landscape.

[2] “It will be the worst fire season in memory…” says CDF every year regardless of conditions.

[3] Trolls 

Generic troll – mostly insults and swears, topic hardly matters. If a narcissistic sociopath, will attempt to take control of the forum where possible.

Ideological troll – only cares about convincing others of their usually discredited and feeble ideology (why else bother). Becomes unglued when presented with indisputable facts.

Paid troll – usually has a set goal, e.g., discredit the forum, defend mainstream propaganda, muddy controversial topics, etc. Easy to spot. Lies, lots of lies, gaslighting (what you’re seeing isn’t happening). Weak argumentation, whole catalog logical of fallacies. Extremely active, multiple handles. Attacks nearly every forum topic with the same zeal.

[4] As an IT guy I am forced to deal with people who for lack of a better word are dumb as dirt.

A friend of mine also in IT at the same place once quipped to me about feeling at best average intelligence until he started working where we work.

He now feels far superior to most of the people we work with.

I would hazard a guess most of them are far below 100 but most are above 80 as they can in fact spell their own names.

The company likes to put together various howtos for people to fix easy computer problems but if the steps are more than two or three most people simply can’t follow along or refuse. 

Humanity is in sad shape as everything continues to move at such a rapid pace that most people now need to know as much about computers as I did as an IT guy back in the mid 90’s.

[5] Biking/Hiking on Logging Roads…

I'm no authority, but…Most of the logging roads in the area are on private timber companies' land. Visiting these places is sometimes frowned upon, sometimes tolerated, sometimes allowed by permit. It depends on which company you're dealing with and which company rep you're talking to. As long as you're not a guerilla pot grower, however, you're unlikely to get in real trouble. But these places are usually pretty trashed except for the immediate riparian zones where they're not allowed to cut. Then there's the Jackson Demonstration State Forest. The JDSF is public land. You're welcome to ride the logging roads there, there is a network of bike trails built and maintained by the community, and there are even a few remote camp sites. BUT, several of the nicest parts of the JDSF are closed for butchery, and one of them is a war zone. 

As for maps, check this out:

Or visit the JDSF's office in Ft. Bragg; they've got a pretty good map of those lands. Or visit the Outdoor Store or Catch a Canoe.

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