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Off the Record (July 28, 2021)

FORMER SUPERVISOR John Pinches told us recently that if the County was serious about doing something about water problems, they could run a smallish pipe along the Skunk Train right-of-way from Willits, which has some spare water, up to the ridgeline where it could then gravity flow down into Fort Bragg’s distribution system. Pinches noted that since it’s just water, there’s no need to bury it, no need to do an EIR. And in all likelihood it would probably be funded by state drought money. Pinches said he suggested just such a thing to current Supervisor John Haschak who called Pinches recently for advice.

BUT we have not heard anything from Haschak about this creative idea. Nor are we likely to. Mendo is incapable of even considering any practical ideas to deal with the water shortage besides holding gab-sessions, hiring staff and wondering about speculative grant applications that won’t arrive in time or at all. 

(Mark Scaramella)

CHECK ME if I'm feeling things, but every year in the last weeks of July I can feel a slight earthly tilt in the direction of early fall. The dawn mornings are crisper, colder, the afternoons warmer. It was 46 this morning when I set out on my two-mile aerobic lurch, the chill reminding me it was time for a second layer.

IF YOU NEED metaphors for the present functioning of Mendocino County, go ahead and use the Supervisor's totally unfounded beef with the Sheriff and, closer to home, Indian Creek Park remaining closed in the middle of summer. Starting trouble where none should exist with the elected Sheriff and an inability to accomplish something as simple as finding a live-in caretaker for the park.

WATCHING the KGO television news the other night, there was a long interlude of four chuckle buddies laughingly swapping non sequiturs when I thought they just might go off into pure hysteria, falling on each other in an on-screen jumble of screams and eyeball gouging.

AS A SENIOR CITIZEN way short of the civic deportment merit badges required for full citizen clearance, I read these journalo-blips that say things like, “Difficulty hearing in crowded rooms may be a sign of early senility.” I can't hear much with one other person in the room, but what am I supposed to do? Run to the doctor? Couple of years ago, a doctor asked me to count backwards from ten to make sure I had  all my marbles. “Well,” he said, “you're not senile.” Next!

DICK MEISTER'S profile of Al Erle took me back, wayyyy back, when Al Erle was the most important guy in NorCal among semi-pro baseball players because he told us every Sunday morning in the SF Examiner where and who we'd be playing. He had the amazing ability to schedule teams according to overall ability, meaning, say, that the Bill Irwin American Legion team out of Oakland wouldn't be playing Ayoob Brothers Plumbing out of San Francisco. The Oakland team was national champs several years running with successive teams of teenagers who went on to play in the major leagues, guys like Frank Robinson, Vada Pinson, Curt Flood, Jesse Gondor, Ernie Broligio. Ayoob Plumbing fielded the Ayoob family and friends. Erle would know to schedule the Ayoob bros to play Mokenbuhler Jewelers, a team featuring the Mokenbuhler bros. Erle sent the best teams out of the Bay Area to play the Fort Bragg Loggers, a semi-pro powerhouse for many years through the late 1940s and 1950s, when semi-pro baseball was the primary Sunday entertainment for many people all over NorCal, when communities were still communities. I wonder if the mostly black Bill Irwin teams ever played in Fort Bragg. Any old timers out there who might know? 

ALL THIS BASEBALL talk reminds me that all the towns up and down the Northcoast fielded semi-pro baseball teams. The last time I was in Laytonville, the remnants of that town's spiffy little ballpark were still visible. The State Hospital at Talmage sponsored a team composed, I believe, of inmates and staff. Boonville had a town team. San Quentin had a very strong team led by a former major league pitcher, and got to play at home every weekend. The Fort Bragg mill hired ballplaying ringers during the summer months, ex-pros and hotshot college kids. And of course, Fort Bragg produced some great ballplayers, including the memorably vivid Vern Piver who played pro ball in the high minors pre-expansion and would have been a major league catcher if he'd been a few years younger. Vern himself told me that John DeSilva was the best athlete ever out of Fort Bragg. He played in the major leagues as a pitcher from 1987-2004.

JUAN comes up to the Mexican border on his bicycle. He has two large bags over his shoulders. The guard stops him and says, “What’s in the bags?”

“Sand,” answered Juan.

The guard says, “We’ll just see about that. Get off the bike.” The guard takes the bags and rips them apart; he empties them out and finds nothing in them but sand. He detains Juan overnight and has the sand analyzed, only to discover that there is nothing but pure sand in the bags The guard releases Juan, puts the sand into new bags, hefts them onto the man’s shoulders, and lets him cross the border.

A week later, the same thing happens. The guard asks, “What have you got?”

“Sand,” says Juan.

The guard does his thorough examination and discovers that the bags contain nothing but sand. He gives the sand back to Juan, and Juan crosses the border on his bicycle.

This sequence of events if repeated every day for three years. Finally, Juan doesn’t show up one day and the guard runs into him in a cantina in Mexico.

“Hey, Buddy,” says the guard, “I know you are smuggling something. It’s driving me crazy. It’s all I think about… I can’t sleep. Just between you and me, what are you smuggling?”

Juan sips his beer and says, “Bicycles.” (via Dave Smith)

HISTORY NOTES (Courtesy, the Fort Bragg Advocate)

78 Years Ago July 28, 1943 — “Comptche News: Allan Tahja arrived home last week, being discharged from active duty. An odd coincidence is the fact that as Allan was being discharged, his brother, Andrew, was being inducted into the Army. I believe Allan was discharged on July 1st, and Andrew entered the armed forces on July 3rd. There is another brother, Arnold, who is training in the Navy.”

38 Years Ago July 28, 1983 — “Tony Craver is a 12- year veteran of the county’s sheriff’s office who has previously worked in the North Sector and Ukiah. Craver, age 44, has been on the coast since March and says he “loves it.” Craver said he has been received very well by most individuals and that the other deputies have been equally positive.”

WORSE THAN ODD. Most people seem to agree that the global weather changes represent death and dislocation for millions of people right now and millions more coming right up but, at the leadership levels, no signs of urgency let alone practical measures introduced to do something about it, assuming, short of dictatorial edicts to, say, park your car forever, anything can be done about it.

WELL, MR. EDITOR, would you park your car forever? Gladly. 

TINY LOCAL EXAMPLE of transport's step backwards: The Greyhound Bus used to drive round trip every day out of Fort Bragg, through Boonville and all the towns south to San Francisco. And another bus made the same trip north to Fort Bragg. When the bus was booked up, the 'Hound put on another bus. Took about three and a half hours to get to the city out of Boonville, and a one-way ticket was under ten bucks. The ’Hound was succeeded by a van service operated by a Christian Arab family originally from Lebanon. I dimly recall that Mendolib's heavily subsidized bus system put the Arabs out of business. But we need a global game of Mother May I. Remember that one? One step forward, three backwards. We need to go backwards. We need to unravel industrial civ before it kills us. More stuff for more people forever has not worked out.

ASK MR. WIZARD, a reader writes: if you've got a moment, I'm interested in your capsule take on Cuba. Was Castro an idealistic revolutionary who tried to bring peace, security, justice, and prosperity to his country with principles of a government, however you want to term them, that dealt with his people's best interests, or did he turn into a murderous thug due to ugly political/economic realities that resulted in the Bay of Pigs and the Missile Crisis and contemporary headlines? I know it's a simple-minded question because I know the truth of things, or maybe better phrased as simply reality, is often a vexing kaleidoscope that defies understanding. Wilson's ‘To The Finland Station’ wasn't an easy read, but the historical sweep didn't end up very pretty to say the least. Wot you tink?”

I THINK CASTRO, as a Marxist-Leninist, took Marx's sociological finding that capital works to the stark disadvantage of most people and added Lenin's how-to-make-a-revolution via himself and his friends. “We will run things for you slobs because you're too goddam dumb and irresponsible to do it yourself.” Lenin, like Castro, was a genius whose older brother, incidentally, was hanged by the Czar, major incentive for Vlad to get revenge. Lenin happened to have several other geniuses in his revolutionary cadre, including the revolution-essential Trotsky, without whose brilliance the USSR would have been smothered in its cradle. If Trotsky had succeeded Lenin, world history may have moved in a more humane direction. Castro, as a Marxist, was clear from the beginning that he was out to make life livable for the mass of the Cuban people, about 70% of whom are black and remain the backbone of the Cuban government's support today. Prior to Castro, Cuba was a very poor country dominated by American criminals who ran the place as a combination casino and brothel catering to degenerate Americans. I think the preponderance of historical evidence is that the Castro regime pretty much restricted itself to the executions of the worst people — the thug enforcers of the Batista regime — and was not, as revolutions go, particularly bloody. White Cubans of means took off for Florida where they produced such great statesmen as Ted Cruz and Little Marco. (Cruz was born in Canada, actually.) My views of Castro ranged from uncritical enthusiasm in his early years to less enthusiasm as he applied the screws to, for instance, homosexuals, by exiling all of them that he could find to the Isle of Pines. In the communist catechism, same-sexers were viewed by Castro as “bourgeois decadents.” And he disallowed all private enterprise right down to neighborhood barbers. But from the beginning, Cuba, a tiny country of about 11 million people, faced strict economic blockades, one half-assed failed invasion and numerous attempts to assassinate Castro himself. One of the only good things Obama did during his mediocre turn in office is lighten up on the Cuban embargo to begin the normalization of relations with Cuba, but along comes the orange monster to unravel the Obama admin's sensible Cuban policies and tightened the embargo on trade with Cuba so extremely even modest remittances from Cuban-Americans to relatives in Cuba were banned. I think overall the Cuban revolution has been a good thing for everyday Cubans, not a good thing for its dissidents. But Cuba has one of the best medical systems in the world and is on the cutting edge of cancer research. I think Castro could have lightened up a long time ago, and would have lightened up long ago without the constant attacks of the United States, but the new leadership since him is much more flexible. Not that I'm surprised, but Biden shows no sign of returning to Obama's enlightened Cuba policies. 

CHRIS CALDER: The City of Fort Bragg stopped selling water to private buyers on the Mendocino Coast on Sunday. This has triggered a scramble among people and businesses outside city limits whose wells are running dry.

A recent local article mentions that Willits is considering shipping water to the coast by rail. It cites “obstacles” to the plan, but not the fact that the rail line between Willits and the coast has been blocked by a collapsed tunnel for nearly ten years. Maybe their delivery point is east of there. [It is.]The wall is here, and we're still at “Who knows?”

“Willits City Manager Brian Bender’s city is considering selling water from a groundwater production facility for transport by the Mendocino Railway to a point near Fort Bragg’s water intake site on the Noyo River, several miles east of town, where it would be piped into the treatment system there. 

“He cited a number of obstacles, including repairs still needed on Willits’ groundwater facility, the railway’s need to purchase eight, 25,000-gallon tanker cars, unresolved funding questions and the city council’s desire for assurance water haulers would be unable to gouge consumers on the far end. 

“It’s an interesting project on paper,” Bender said. “It’s something really interesting to talk about and work through the ramifications. On paper, it’s relatively simple. But once you try to apply it, it's not simple.” 

“The 170-year-old hamlet of Mendocino has roughly 1,000 full-time residents but about 2,000 daily visitors, said Ryan Rhoades, superintendent of the Mendocino Community Services District. 

“All of their water needs are supplied by a network of 420 individual wells at various depths. Many of them were hand-dug in the early years of the historic town and are only 35 feet deep or shallower, Rhoades said. But most of the water supply is further underground... 

“Most water had been purchased from Fort Bragg, a town of about 7,300 people whose primary water source is the Noyo River. But as the Noyo River stream flow has diminished, problems have arisen during high tide cycles like one that arrived early this week, city Operations Manager Heath Daniels said. 

“The spike in sales, combined with the high tides, prompted Fort Bragg to stop outside sales last Sunday, about six weeks ahead of what was anticipated, accelerating what already was an urgent need for solutions to the coastal shortage.”

A RELIABLE SOURCE of the most reliable type told me the other day that water thieves have been spotted filling their tanker trucks directly from the North Fork of the Eel out of Covelo. The thieves punched out an overgrown path to the river so the path was large enough to get a tanker truck down to the water. Once full of the depleted Eel's disappearing liquid gold a DC-9 tractor pulled the tanker truck back up to the main road, and off they go at five to six hundred bucks per 3500-gallon load.

THE PRESS DEMOCRAT'S STORY on Coast water woes neglected to mention that Fort Bragg's always perilous agua supply was instantly made much more perilous with Fish and Wildlife's insupportable decision to allow the installation of a summer dam on the upper Noyo for a summer swimming pond.

EVEN LEGAL WATER HAULERS are beginning to be shuffled from source-to-source as those sources begin to worry about their prior civic commitments to their home communities, so they’ve stopped selling to independent contractors. How many outlaw water haulers are operating in the county? Pick a number starting at fifty.

APART from major anxieties about water supplies this late summer of 2021, water experts say without a rain deluge this winter water shortages will get downright desperate by the summer of 2022.

A READER WRITES: “As a fairly new reader I feel informed but daunted. Could one of you please explain why the Catch of the Day is such a big feature in your website? The AVA gives me the feeling that there is no hope, that there are no "good guys" out there. It's overwhelming to weed through the grim faces to find news. Why not surprise us and just for one whole day have no Catches whatsoever? How about a "Hero/Heroine of the Week?" — or just something that lifts our spirits? Celebrates positive community? Ways to get involved and make a difference?”

ED NOTE: He who laughs has not heard the terrible news, as some sage said. Seems to me we have plenty of uplift in every issue, not that we disagree that warm-fuzzy isn't our specialty. One sees what one needs to see, believes what one needs to believe, but for your own peace of mind you might turn us off and tune in NPR, especially on Saturdays with premier nuzzlebum, Scott Simon, master of the faux catch-in-the throat. Or, if you prefer your false feeling in visuals, try the Evening News with David Muir where, no matter how grim the events recited, there's always Dave's last segment of an autistic child at last getting his long-desired ride in a fire truck. As for Catch of the Day, what's most striking to me is that the majority of The Catch come off as so indomitable, so inspirationally un-contrite, so hopeful. 

BED TIME FOR BEZOS — Jeffrey St. Clair

“Was the conquest of space then a potential chariot of Satan, the unique and grand avenue for the new totalitarian?”

– Norman Mailer, Of a Fire on the Moon

+ Five planets in our solar system are adorned with rings. The rings around four of these planets (Saturn, Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune) are comprised of dust and ice. The ring that encircles earth is made of trash, the detritus of the launch-it-and-leave culture of the new generation of space junketeers.

+ We are witnessing the last great enclosure, as the billionaire rocket-set greedily stake their claims on space–once a universal commons, a kind of dreamscape that since the beginning of humankind has been available freely to all, owned by none.

+ Bezos’s rocket looks like it was designed by Barbarella’s workshop, a stubby white vibrator, which is the most extravagant manifestation yet of that favorite pastime of the American elite, Ostentatious Onanism.

+ There can be no doubt that Ham, the first chimpanzee in space, would have made a more evocative and intelligent description of his suborbital flight than the vapid mutterings of Bezos, who didn’t even have the sense to hire a professional peddler of pomp, like Jon Meacham or Peggy Noonan, to script a few uplifting lines of homespun doggerel.

+ Bezos, the $207 Billion Manchild, blurted out after his 10-minute ride: “I want to thank every Amazon employee and every Amazon customer because you guys paid for all of this. Seriously, for every Amazon customer out there and every Amazon employee, thank you from the bottom of my heart very much. It’s very appreciated.”

+ The median salary of an Amazon worker is $29,007 in 2020. The CEO-to-worker pay ratio at the company is 58:1.

+ Biden’s press secretary Jen Psaki on Jeff Bezos and Blue Origin: “The United States is the first country to have private companies taking private individuals to space. This is a moment of American exceptionalism. That’s how we see it.”

+ NASA administrator Charles F. Bolden on ABC News: “One black kid watching this launch on a corner somewhere is one less Black kid getting ready to use a weapon.” “Black kid,” hell. Shouldn’t they be force-feeding the footage to Tony Blinken, Tom Cotton and the Mayor of Miami who wants to bomb Havana?

+ He’s evil and nuts…Jeff Bezos, hours after returning to Earth from “nearspace“: “We need to take all heavy industry, all polluting industry, and move it into space. And keep Earth as this beautiful gem of a planet that it is.”

+ Predictably, the press lapped it all up, giving Bezos’s quick in-and-out more coverage in a single day than it devoted to the threat of climate change in the last year.

+ The climate atmospheric impact of just 1000 space flights a year would equal that of all current aviation.

+ Where’s a frozen O-Ring when you need one?

AFTER BEN & JERRY’S ANNOUNCED that it would stop selling their products in what the AP referred to as Israel’s “war-won lands” (ie, the Occupied Territories), Israel’s new prime minister referred to the company as purveyors of “anti-Semitic ice cream.” (Jeffrey St. Clair)

SUPERVISOR MULHEREN: So disappointing to see years of work and compromises challenged by misinformation. I heard that many of the people that signed the petition did not fully understand what they were signing. The Board added many more environmental protections in the new CCAO ordinance. What the article doesn’t talk about is that Phase 3 of the original 10A.17 has been on hold and that it will need to move forward. From my perspective Phase 1 (10A.17) was meant to give existing operators a chance to get through the system, while the CCAO would add new operators it would have been in only a few zones and with even more strict environmental regulations than the State and 10A.17 required (no trucked water, no slope over 15%, existing areas used for agriculture only). This in the end may be better for people that were in zones that were not allowed in the CCAO but doesn’t meet the community goal of moving cultivation out of the hills and in to ag land and we don’t know what their ability to get through the environmental regulations will be. In many conversations I have talked about the possibility of having to put this ordinance on the ballot. After seeing the referendums divide our community in only six short weeks and having been active in the Measure A campaign where misinformation nearly tore our community apart I’m not enthusiastic about the idea of subjecting our community to that again. It’s so sad because local long time cultivators were villainized for wanting to support their families and their communities. Stigma around cannabis cultivation is very real and very sad, there are a lot of upstanding farmers in our community that are penalized because of illegal operations. Sad times indeed. More information will follow in the upcoming weeks and months.


” the community goal of moving cultivation out of the hills and into ag land” is a partial sentence from Supervisor Mulheren’s article lamenting the apparent success of the petition to cancel the current cannabis ordinance. My question: when has it been a “community goal” to destroy small, independent growers in the outback in favor of corporate mono crop agriculture? Still seems like this assumption is too much like Scotland’s Highland Clearances of my ancestors’ day. “Get these people out of the hills and into the factories, ASAP.” Make it really hard to get a permit, do NOTHING to enforce limitations on illegal grows, let the whole place go to hell, and then have the only viable alternative for cultivation be big farms and corporate ownership. This all really stinks, and that’s why so many people signed the petitions. There is no “community goal” here, just the same old assumption that big is better.

THE KQED DOCUMENTARY FILM, ‘Who Bombed Judi Bari’ by Frontline producer Steve Talbot is now posted on YouTube.

THE BARI CULT has always been terrified by this film, and doubly terrified by Talbot's appearance on Belva Davis's KQED program, This Week In California, where Talbot states forthrightly states that Bari told him that she thought her ex-husband, Mike Sweeney, had car-bombed her in 1990. That interview is appended to the film. The Bari Cult, whose principals have profited mightily from the Bari tragedy via fundraising on false pretenses, and a bogus but winning federal lawsuit, have also made a film called Who Bombed Judi Bari in the obvious hopes that people will confuse Talbot's honest film with their dishonest, crudely hagiographic, cut and paste job which ignores Bari's ex-husband. Sweeney, incidentally, has left the United States for New Zealand, abandoning his many local enablers who tacitly assisted him in getting away with murder.

THE BAY AREA NEWS led off all weekend with a shooting on San Rafael's main drag, 4th Street. A rapper called Drank God was performing “in concert.” In concert. I love that. You'd think it was a Mozart string quartet, and not some no talent sociopath chanting mayhem recommendations to a packed house of criminal fantasists. Four young men were killed outside the venue by another presumably young man firing a high powered rifle that damaged windows and buildings up and down the street. George's Nightclub proprietor absolved herself of responsibility, pointing out that the murdering had occurred outside her establishment, not inside. 

LYRICS to “Freestyle,” Drank God’s 2020 Hit Single:


It's Rio

Boyz in this b*tch, n*gga, you know what the f*ck goin' on

Free the whole Ghetto

On gang, uh


Eleven thousand cash on me, feelin' very important

Dropped a freestyle playin' around and they know every word

Just chased a n*gga down Garland, he jumped every curb

Started shootin' when we got, no, I ain't gon' say that, f*ck it

Started shootin' when we got to Fifth, that b*tch crashed on Third

Scared to close my eyes, I might die, I drunk a lot of syrup

. . .

I'm tired of sh*ttin' on n*ggas, I dropped a lot of turds

Today I'm spending fifteen racks on lean 'cause that's what I deserve

Ain't nobody give me sh*t, I got it by myself

Crazy part about it, I did all this sh*t on house arrest

Go shoot somebody with that gun, give that house a rest

Hit him in his face with an AR, it's comin' out his neck

f*ck a b*tch for free, I ain't never comin' out a check

You think your n*gga f*ckin' with me? Smoke an ounce of meth

We the reason it's one-fifty for an ounce of red

n*gga shot at me, and two weeks later, they pronounced him dead

n*gga shot at me, and two weeks later, he pronounced deceased

How they lookin' for me and I'm chillin' somewhere out to eat?

I run a stupid bag up on the South with C

The hardest sh*t I ever tried was in the house with E

One night we drunk a whole pint and smoked an ounce of weed

One day I sold a zip in rocks, I met a crowd of fiends

Thirty on the Glock and the AK from down the street

But I'ma drop the 31st like it's Halloween

45, thirties on 30, these are not fifteens

I don't smoke, but I'll do a verse for a pound of weed

Scared to serve unc', I ain't gon' lie, he look like Harlem Green

Dropped an ounce of Cook', some straight drop that look like garlic cheese

I bought some dog and left it raw, it look like concrete mix

Popped a lil' n*gga, he died young, he look like Roddy Ricch

If brody pop out with the 23, I guess I'm Scottie Pippen

I bought a gun straight out the store and caught a body with it

I poured a muddy ass cup, put an Oxy' in it

Knock a n*gga head off his body and play hockey with it

The last time I had a dream, I seen Kwanny in it

Was finna shoot this n*gga car up, but I seen Charlie in it

LETHAL STUPIDITY is hardly confined to rappers, so how can it be that the basic principles of immunology are suddenly a matter of opinion? No sooner had Dr. Fauci said that the US is in an “unnecessary predicament” of soaring Covid-19 cases fueled by unvaccinated Americans and the virulent Delta variant, than Governor Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas, where infections are among the highest in the country, says on national television that masks should remain optional, that covid is a matter of opinion. 

HERE in “progressive” Mendocino County, vaccinations remain confined to about half the population. Putting one's fellow citizens at risk of death because you reject Dr. Fauci for Fox News as your go-to source for medical information…is one more indication that we've totally lost our way as anything resembling a nation.

HUMCO OLD TIMER ERNIE BRANSCOMB comments on firefighting on the HumCo-Mendo county line via Redheaded Blackbelt: “Piercy Fire and Leggett Fire are two of the most important first responders in the South Fork Canyon, yet they are treated like unwanted step-children. 

Measure Z in Humboldt County has helped the most rural of first responders in Humboldt County immensely. Measure Z money has provided new fire stations, fire trucks, breathing apparatus, personal protection clothing, and other critically important equipment.

Fire departments spend most of the Measure Z money on equipment that will last a long time. Little money is spent on labor because the smaller departments are all volunteer. 

It would be nice to see Mendocino step up and support their smaller, and very critically important, fire departments better. 

Calfire is well equipped and well organized, but they can’t do it all. Even Calfire depends on the smaller rural fire departments to respond when needed, and they often are.”



People who work in Mendo, Napa, Sonoma and beyond have bought every available home in, you guessed it, Lake County, driving up the cost of housing there for all the honest, hard working citizens…

Ukiah is the damnedest thing, people living permanently in 250 square ft old-motel rooms on State Street, homeless lying around everywhere while screaming at themselves, restaurants and coffee-places teeming with folks who don’t seem to have much to do at 10AM, and not much to draw folks into town besides Wal-Mart, Costco and Home-Depot…

There’s no homes for sale where 5 years ago there were plenty and they were cheap. Now it’s $600,000 plus.

Every business is staffed by folks commuting in from Santa Rosa or there are “Help Wanted” signs…

In Lake County, houses last 2-3 weeks on the market, and have shot up 40% in a year. Highway 20 has ruts from the commuters flying up to Ukiah and Willits.

Practically no new construction of homes in the area, but plenty of new “greenhouses”…

Newest housing in Lake County: Farmworker apartments in Kelseyville, and Senior/Disabled Apartments in Lakeport… Get them now!

[2] New Zealand Olympic Weight Lifter Laurel Hubbard was born a male, but has reputedly “transitioned.” Some kill-joys still scream foul because she/he developed muscles as a man and is now using those very same muscles as a woman. That has to be some kind of fraud?! Bait and switch, maybe? Meanwhile, American transgender athlete Chelsea Wolfe is on the US Olympic Women’s BMX bike team. I didn’t even know those silly little bicycles were an Olympic event. Even skateboarding has been approved as an Olympic event and frisbee is not far behind. The Olympics are becoming too absurd for words. Anyone into cat juggling?

[3] WATER — Well, legal or illegal grows, the fact is the Round Valley aquifer is rapidly being sucked dry. Water trucks are delivering to both legal and illegal grows to the detriment of local wells. Residents in Covelo area are watching their wells run dry. It seems to me if a legal grow is permitted then it ought to prove sustainability with on-sight water. No importing of valley water, period. When a 400 foot valley well has run dry it’s a no brainer something must be done. Expansion of legal cannabis grows during a massive 10 year drought is the height of Mendocino County stupidity. And the fact is that most legal residents do not want any further expansion of the legal grows. If the valley aquifer is not allowed to replenish, this area will likely see the valley floor subside. Not only are the great oaks deprived of needed moisture, but the aquifer too will never recover once it sinks.

 [4] I don’t understand why cannabis growers think they need so much water. Cannabis is naturally a dry climate plant. Drowning it isn’t going to make it bigger or more potent. Back in the day, I grew cannabis in small batches in the Nevada desert, relying on a tiny spring to provide water. Drip irrigation was efficient and I grew high quality weed that I had no trouble selling to friends. I wasn’t greedy… a good crop was six to eight plants.

Law enforcement needs to crack down hard on these illegal grows. Find them and take ‘em down. In the desert, grows such as those described in the [CalMatters] article could be torched, including vehicles. In our mountains, rip everything out and I mean everything. Plants, water lines, dams and stream diversions, structures, and vehicles. If someone is found at the grow, arrest their ass. Find out where the money is and confiscate it. That’s the only thing that’s going to stop this bullshit… strict enforcement and consequences.

Illegal growers aren’t selling their crops legally. What they grow is transported to states where cannabis is still illegal. Sellers and their customers are murdered on a daily basis over it and the only ones benefiting are the cartels and street gangs. Legal cannabis is fine, I enjoy edibles myself, but illegal stuff hurts society. And before some idiot here says “Well it should be legalized everywhere,” the fact is that it’s not and probably won’t be for a long time, if ever. If you’re growing illegally, then you have blood on your hands; unfortunately, I doubt you care.

[5] California and other "stricter and earlier lockdown" states suffered less economic decline and better health outcomes than states like Texas with looser rules. Unchecked disease is apparently worse for the economy than lockdowns. 

I didn't vote for Newsom in the primary, but the pandemic in America would be all but over if not for widespread Republican irresponsibility and disinformation on everything from the seriousness of COVID to the efficacy of masks and vaccines. If the GOP does about 30 years of soul searching they might become worthy of being elected as dog catcher for a small town with few dogs.

[6] I’ve been smoking weed for about 25 years. Never once have I tried coke, meth, heroin, fentanyl or any other drug stronger than magic mushrooms. Well I did try LSD a couple times, I’ll never do that s*** again.. blaming drugs for violence is like blaming soda pop for diabetes, salt for high blood pressure or firearms for murder. It’s lack of personal responsibility that is responsible for all of those issues. And the complacency of a society that rewards the lack of personal responsibility..

[7] The worst effect of the Green Rush IMO was the rapid shift in values here. New everything, plastic boobs and plastic butts, designer clothes and baller bullshit lifestyle came on here hard. Sure some of it was here but most people and growers loved the land, loved the critters. Many rookies just saw $$$ and never questioned their actions just figured “That’s how ya do it. That’s how ya get the stacks of cash!!” It was such an overwhelming push of greed and selfishness that it changed our community forever…even today I see 30 year olds arriving with no sense of country living, little desire to learn country ways or compromise and they just want to blow up a dep scene and grab that cash. And they do it while wearing Grateful Dead t-shirts and espousing their spirituality and yoga devotions. It’s really fucking weird! Guys like the one you described are socially rewarded as being “successful”. We used to pride ourselves on patching together old trucks and living anti-consumption lives off-grid…knowing that the natural world was suffering from our human death spiral. Now we are few and they are many. It’s like LA North around here now with the values…Where is Eco-Dexter when we need him?


  1. Kathy Borst July 28, 2021

    Les Chichester is echoing the sentiment I heard while collecting signatures for the referendum. The BOS (4/5) tried to leverage a bribe. Not working. Get back to work and listen to the people. This doesn’t have to go to a vote. The supes have the option of saving the county time and money by rescinding the ordinance themselves. If it goes to a vote, it will be in hopes that the big money of big cannabis can put out enough misinformation in ads to get people to vote against what they actually want.

  2. Rye N Flint July 28, 2021

    RE: ““Well it should be legalized everywhere,” the fact is that it’s not and probably won’t be for a long time, if ever. If you’re growing illegally, then you have blood on your hands; unfortunately, I doubt you care.”

    Did the gold miners care who’s land they were stealing? Nope! They were just here to make money. Same goes for most Pot growers that came here from other States with less economic opportunities, and brought their care-free in-it-for-the-money culture with them.

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