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Off the Record (August 18, 2021)

JAMES MARMON alerted us on Tuesday of last week that a suit had been filed in the Mendocino County Superior Court alleging that county law enforcement, up to and including DA David Eyster, had conspired to rob travelers transporting marijuana on the Mendo stretch of Highway 101. Interesting as the allegations are, the charges seem tenuous, unsupported by specific evidence. But we've always wondered how it was possible that Mendo cops did not know that two rogue officers from Rohnert Park were hijacking marijuana at, among other Mendo sites, Squaw Rock. And doing it repeatedly. We've provided a link on the ava website to the suit in its entirety.

IN A STATEMENT from DA spokesman Mike Geniella to the Ukiah Daily Journal, the charges are described as “laughable”: The DA and staff were unaware a lawsuit had been filed. “We have not been served with the lawsuit, nor provided a copy. How can we comment on something that is not in front of us? Any notion that DA David Eyster conspired with anyone in the performance of his duties as the county’s chief law enforcement officer is laughable.”

EVER WONDER how a lynch mob gets rolling? Check our on-line comments on the lawsuit alleging Mendo law enforcement constitutes a grand conspiracy against the dope industry. Wishing that the cops are on the take is different than proving they are.

I'VE READ the filing twice now and, sorry, not a single allegation is backed up with a single, specific, substantiating fact. The only way these vague charges might be substantiated is if the two Rohnert Park crooks not only name names, but times, dates and all the other particulars that add up to a real case. But because they've admitted to hijacking pot couriers, they also qualify as highly impeachable witnesses as to the crimes of other people.

I SAID, and say again here for the reading impaired, I do find it highly suspicious that the two Rohnert Park yobbos could waylay pot transports for over a year at Squaw Rock with nobody in Mendo law enforcement being aware they were doing it. Not possible, and I hope someone has to explain, under oath, how it was that Mendo law enforcement was unaware of serial hijacks on 101 by two cops from a jurisdiction 45 minutes to the south of Mendocino County. Unless that happens, this thing is going to be summarily tossed.

READ the following for true stories of police, prosecutorial and judicial misconduct: John Dalton was a group project involving Mendocino County and the DEA as they pursued the Redwood Valley and Laytonville man into state prison for nearly a quarter century. I can also cite the case of Mark Sprinkle still confined to state prison on highly dubious “evidence.” And there's the case of Kenny Rogers of Westport who was convicted on zero evidence and packed off to the state pen where he languishes today. 

John Dalton Original Three-part series and this more recent interview after his release from prison: "John Dalton, 23 Years Later".

JAMES MARMON asked if the AVA is afraid of DA Eyster and former Sheriff Allman. No. The only person who has truly terrified me ever, was a former sister-in-law who said she hoped I fell asleep on her couch so “I can cut your bleeping throat.” But that was 1970 and she had “issues” as they say, so many she had to rent a U-Haul to carry them around. But it is at least mildly frightening how fast people can get out the rope simply because they can't make out the diff between an allegation and a fact.

A WEEK after the lawsuit against Mendo law enforcement all the way up to the DA, the only media to cover the story are Kym Kemp of Redheaded Blackbelt and the AVA. Kym Kemp broke the story of the rogue Rohnert Park cops last year. 

FFPC “Enforcement Chief” Angela Brereton

I FOUND MAJOR SCARAMELLA, USAF ret, weeping bitter tears on his keyboard. “Look at this, boss. They didn't even give me a reason! Can you believe this?” he demanded, gesturing at his computer screen where a terse paragraph from the state's jive-o Fair Political Practices Commission “Enforcement Chief” Angela Brereton, informed him that his complaint had been tossed. 

The Major had complained that Supervisor McGourty had a conflict of interest in discussing and voting on Russian River water issues because McGourty and his wine pals financially benefit directly from what's left of the Russian River and the century-long swindle of the Potter Valley Diversion. The elderly Air Force veteran had been summarily rejected without a reason or legal citation. “I mean,” moaned the Major. “There’s no question that there’s at least an APPEARANCE of a conflict!” I comforted the Major as best I could, explaining that Sacramento had so many bogus boards like the FPPC that state government leases property all over town to house them all. I patiently explained the Sacto realities to my colleague. “There's an army of these politically appointed parasites walking around the state capitol with their coffee cups, medicated grins on their insensate faces. The marginal lawyer who wrote this wouldn't dare put her “reasoning” in print because… Well, because she doesn't have to. And no one in Sacramento gives a hoot what happens in Mendo, including our elected state reps. There's no recourse, no one supervises these drones, all of whom got their do-nothing patronage jobs from entrenched Democrats. “Have a shot of Maker's, my son, and chalk it up to one more reason for revolution.”  

MET A FRIEND for lunch at Patrona's, my first experience with the Ukiah restaurant at School and Standley. I liked it. Years ago I was warned, “Never go there on a Friday night. The place is crawling with Westside undesirables.” Hey, watch it. I have friends on the Westside. Well, one friend anyway. It was 95 in Boonville at 11am when I set forth. On the flat up on the hill it was 99. By Robinson Creek on the Ukiah side of the ridge my vehicle said it was 105, again confirming the consensus Anderson Valley opinion that our side of the hill is always at least 5-10 degrees cooler than our hellish county seat. I thought back to the long gone Green Barn on South State, of which Patrona is vaguely reminiscent, and you're getting to be a Mendo old timer if you remember it. I loved that place. It was an oasis on a summer day, dark as a bat cave inside with the AC set at 67, comfortable booths, good food, reasonable prices, full bar, nothing snooty within miles.

WHAT YOU ARE NOT HEARING this hot, dry summer in the Western public dialogue is a strategy for reducing the load on the natural resources, permanently fallowing land which now holds permanent crops like the export-led industries of almonds, grapes and dairies. Golf courses should be forbidden in California except where we learn to play on sand and dirt. In 2020, sixty-five percent of the almond crop, about 2 billion pounds (all grown in California) was exported to other countries — 920 billion almonds, taking a gallon of California water per nut with it. In 2020 California exported 41 million cases of wine (2.4 gal/case, 318 gal.water/gal wine) to foreign nations; 317 billion gallons of California water went into its production. It takes about 880 gallons of water to produce a gallon of dairy milk. Total milk production in the state costs in the neighborhood of 40 trillion gallons of water. — Bill Hatch

NO TWO DAYS are alike in the newspaper business. Last Thursday afternoon there were two gifts — one of plums fresh from an organic tree, the other a hearty pot plant, both left at our office door. (The pot plant was confidently identified as a Japanese Maple by my colleague, Major Scaramella.) Never having been a stoner despite my friend Pebs’ urgings — “It will sharpen your focus, Bruce,” she'd said, but I stopped smoking cigarettes when I was in my twenties because I couldn't help but notice how easily winded I became playing pickup basketball. I've never heard marijuana advocates explain how inhaled marijuana smoke is any different than other smoke in long-term negative lung effect. But thank you anonymous donor for the pot plant. I'll add it to my botanical array and see if it prospers.

AN IDIOT'S GUIDE to PG&E. Before the power octopus began murdering its customers and burning down their houses, critics were pointing out that PG&E was shorting personnel and maintenance, cutting back generally on the safety of its infrastructure in order to ensure its investors received regular and lucrative dividends, funneled to them by a captive board of directors and wildly overpaid upper-echelon managers. In other words, the public was taken out of public utility in favor of private interests, and PG&E continues to rampage as its customers pick up the tab for its legal bills.

LOCAL WATER WOES. Here it is the middle of August, and wouldn't one expect the governments of our far-flung communities to be more focused on long-term water supply strategies than trying to figure out how to get water right now to the predictably dry Mendocino Coast, not to mention relief for the several thousand Mendo hill muffins whose wells and springs have dried up? I'm sure lots of thirsty Mendo people are figuring out their own water plans to capture as much of this winter's rains as they can, or should be making those plans on the safe assumption that the big rains of yesteryear may not ever return, that this drought will become permanent.

FORD PROPERTIES — two guys outta Hopland — have blind-mailed Dear Mendocino County Land Owner letters to dear Mendocino County land owners with a pitch to sell because, “As you may or may not be aware, land permittable for cannabis is in high demand. Although there is no clear path for cannabis cultivators at the moment, it seems many buyers are speculating on beating the street for quality agricultural/rangeland assets. The price of cannabis is at a 5-year high, and this commodity value is driving real estate prices up hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars….”

IN FACT, prices currently are so low that people are lucky to get $500 a pound for last year’s dope, and given the huge recent increase in deluded people growing marijuana in the sere, thirsty hills of Mendocino County this year… Well, the Green Rush has done rushed out the price door.

AS FOR PERMIT “CLARITY,” har de har. Clarity on marijuana policy in this muddled county will be unclear for the foreseeable future. On the other hand, looked at from the perspective of the social collapse just now picking up momentum, country property is a sound investment. Check the water, though.

YEARS AGO there was an old guy on my paperboy route I knew only as Judge Flor. He used to wait for me at his gate for me to hand him his Call Bulletin, one of San Francisco's afternoon papers. “You should breathe through your nose, kid,” he'd say after I'd climbed the hill to his house, huffing and puffing through all my intake valves. Another day, “You like music?” At age 11 I couldn't recall any music other than my aunt's ukulele, which I wasn't sure qualified. “Well, here's a whole band for ya!” the judge chortled as he handed me his cigar band. Every day it was something. “Say, sonny boy, you know why blind men don't smoke?” I didn't know any blind people. No, sir, I don't know why blind men don't smoke, I'd answered. “Because they can't see the smoke!” The judge didn't elaborate, leaving me to wonder the rest of my life if I'd gotten the straight skinny from the old coot. All these years I've looked for a blind smoker to test Judge Flor's thesis, if that's what it was, until just the other day, reading a Hemingway short story called “Now I Lay Me,” I read this passage:

“Talk quiet,” I said. “Want a smoke?”

We smoke skillfully in the dark.

“You don't smoke much, Signor Tenente.”"

“No. I've just about cut it out.”

“Well,” he said, “it don't do you any good and I suppose you get so you don't miss it. Did you ever hear a blind man won't smoke because he can't see the smoke come out?”

“I don't believe it.”

“I think it's all bull myself,” he said. “I just heard it somewhere. You know how you hear things.”

JUDGE FLOR, looking back, didn't strike me as a literary man, so he probably didn't read his blindman myth in Hemingway's story, but then maybe he did, or maybe the blindmen-don't-smoke story was in general circulation back in the day. I've never seen a blindman smoking, though, have you? And I've looked for years.

NOAA (National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration) has announced that July was the hottest month ever recorded. The combined land/ocean-surface temperature was 1.67F above the 20th-century average, the hottest since record keeping started 142 years ago. NOAA says it is “very likely” that 2021 will rank among the world’s 10-warmest years on record. 

RED BEARD STILL AT LARGE

RedBeard/William Allan Evers

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 (422 PC) and should be considered ARMED AND DANGEROUS.

On Saturday, July 3, 2021 the large scale search and apprehension efforts in Elk for William Evers were concluded due to unavailability of continued mutual aid law enforcement resources.

The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office will continue to have a presence and will be conducting smaller scale search and apprehension efforts. The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office will also continue to utilize mutual aid assistance and resources as they become available to increase these ongoing efforts.

At the present time William Evers is believed to be traversing and occupying an approximately 7-square mile area. This area is bordered by Highway 128 to the north, South Highway 1 to the west, Philo-Greenwood Road to the south, to approximately 5-miles east from South Highway 1.

The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office wants to remind the public that William Evers should be considered armed and dangerous.

Anyone who observes suspicious activity or possible sightings of William Evers, especially those persons who are along Cameron Road, are asked to immediately notify the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office by calling 707-961-2421 for non-emergencies or 9-1-1 if it is an emergency.

UPDATE: RED BEARD, the fugitive roaming the precipitous ridge on the south end of the Navarro River, is still out there despite ongoing efforts of the Sheriff's Department to capture him. Last seen in July on a home surveillance video, Red was headed back into the woods with a wheelbarrow full of booze expropriated from a home on Cameron Road he's burglarized twice now. 

OVERHEARD in the Ukiah Co-op, two men of middle years, one of them a groovy guy with neat ponytail doing the talking: “You know it's true that Mars is a cosmic warning to us. It was once an advanced society just like ours that died from greed.” The second man: “You got that right.”

GOOD NEWS FOR WHITEY: White Americans still make up 57.8 percent of the country but slipping fast, according to the Census data that was released on Thursday, a decrease of over 6 percent since 2010. That is the number of people who replied “white alone, non Hispanic or Latino” to the survey. Another group who answered “white alone” make up 61 percent of the country, according to a data map. The white population is still the largest in the country with 235 million, but Asians and Hispanics closing fast.

OVER THE LAST 20 YEARS, we’ve heard dozens of rationales, justifications and excuses for the US occupation of Afghanistan, all of them now exposed as hollow (or worse). There’s been no “nation-building,” the status of women has not been elevated or protected, the army and security forces have not been “trained” and “modernized,” opium poppy production has not been eradicated, militant groups have not been eliminated, sectarian strife has not lessened, the influence of Pakistan’s ISI has not been blunted. But American contractors and weapons makers have made tens of billions, year after year, for two decades, on long-term, no-bid contracts, many of the companies run by retired officials from the Pentagon and CIA, with little to no oversight or accountability. The Afghan war and occupation was one of history’s longest gravy trains, feeding govt. guaranteed profits to some of the most unsavory operators in the country, as 1000s of Afghans perished, and every time someone tried to stop it, they were shouted down with one word: “terrorism.”  — Jeffrey St. Clair

ACCORDING TO THE CENSUS BUREAU, Mendocino County grew by almost 4,000 people since the last decennial count. Its best estimate is that we now have 91,601 residents, up from 87,841 in 2010. Not counting the uncounted, of course. These new numbers are supposed to be used by the newly appointed citizens advisory committee to determine if any supervisorial districts should be revised.

JEFF BLANKFORT: And that's the way the story ends… At least this chapter, with the Americans and the journalists who follow them, like those who clean up after elephants in the old circuses, coming up with blank stares and clueless:

“A third official said on Thursday that the Taliban would forfeit any legitimacy — and, in turn, foreign aid — if it attacks Kabul or takes over Afghanistan’s government by force.

“Five current and former officials described the mood inside the embassy as increasingly tense and worried, and diplomats at the State Department’s headquarters in Washington noted a sense of tangible depression at the specter of closing it, nearly 20 years after Marines reclaimed the burned-out building in December 2001.

“Several people gloomily revived a comparison that all wanted to avoid: the fall of Saigon in 1975, when Americans stationed at the U.S. Embassy were evacuated from a rooftop by helicopter.”

THE TALIBAN obviously operate out of a medieval playbook, but I think we need independent verification of the alleged fresh Taliban atrocities. There's a vague image circulating purportedly showing tarred but not feathered men being dragged through the streets with nooses around their necks by armed gunmen. This isn't quite an atrocity since the men are alive but, really, there won't be some score settling in this situation after the Taliban themselves suffered many more losses and untold atrocities over the past twenty years? And now, can 5,000 American and Brit troops prevent the Taliban from, as one of their spokesmen said, “entering Kabul like a lion,” or are they there merely “to ensure an orderly exit of embassy staff” and their dependent Afghans? 5000 Marines plus air support ought to be able to bring off an “orderly exit.”

FOR ONCE I agree with Biden — you can't endlessly prop up people, especially a gang of crooks like the Afghan government, endlessly incapable of defending themselves. Had to laugh when that clownish Pentagon spokesman said the situation was “deeply concerning.” Give both sides the same weapons and the Taliban would take the Pentagon in a few hours.

THE MOST FRIGHTENING story today was the Forest Service announcement that said firefighters in the Western U.S. are being stretched to the limit by the numerous blazes ravaging the state. The FS said that it is “operating in crisis mode.” The roughly 21,000 federal firefighters working on the ground is more than double the number of firefighters sent to contain forest fires at this time a year ago. Anthony Scardina, a deputy forester for the agency's Pacific Southwest region, said the agency is facing “critical resources limitations.” An estimated 6,170 firefighters are battling the Dixie Fire in Northern California, the largest of 100 mega-fires burning in 14 states, with dozens more burning in western Canada. Federal firefighters are deployed in addition to state forces. According to Cal Fire, 9,831 firefighters were battling 11 major wildfires and many smaller blazes throughout the state. Federal firefighters are paid significantly less than their state colleagues - leading to a significant shortage, according to Senator Feinstein in an op ed for the LA Times. The starting salary for many federal US Forest Service firefighters in California is $28,078, versus the $66,336 entry-level salary Cal Fire pays. Inmates in California have, since 1946, been used to fight fires and were deployed on Friday. Service is voluntary and any inmate can apply to the program - but not every inmate qualifies, as those with more than five years left of their sentence are barred, as are those serving time for violent crimes.

FROM THE ESSENTIAL DANILA SANDS: Mendocino Action News - Fire, Traffic and Other Emergencies

Public Safety Power Shutoff(Psps) Event Possible; Mendocino County Is One Of 16 Counties That May Be Impacted; As Of 08/15/21 6:45pm All Counties Are At "Elevated Level", However, Always Good Time To Prepare 

A Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) occurs in response to severe weather. Power is turned off to help prevent wildfire. PG&E will attempt to notify affected customers when and if the weather forecast clearly indicates a shutoff could be required.

Elevated – An upcoming event (a period of gusty winds, dry conditions, heightened risk) is being monitored for an increased potential of a PSPS event.

Detailed maps where PSPS is being considered locally will be available here: https://pgealerts.alerts.pge.com/safety/

Updates/Address Lookup Here: https://www.pge.com/.../wildfires/psps-weather-map.page

PETER LIT'S second book of poetry is called, “As Far as the Mind Can See.” The versatile Mr. Lit is still best known as the crusty proprietor of the Caspar Inn, the best live music bar North of San Francisco. The modest promise of the poet's title — As Far as the Mind Can See — is more than realized by the far seeing jewels inside, among which I especially liked:

HEADED SOUTH FOR WINTER

Who is this person

looking out from the mirror?

The one whose face is lined with pain

. . .

I am aging, yes, but

what transpired to turn

the possessor of a passionate mind

into a curmudgeon

who spends too much time

shoring up a crumbling body,

sharpening a quieting mind?

. . .

When did the dreams of travel and freedom

morph into a regime of tinctures and pills?

When did the champagne and cocaine

transform into prune juice and psyllium?

. . .

What happened?

Who is this person

looking out from the mirror?

. . .

When carbon speaks to carbon,

what language shall it use?

. . .

Earth, tree, mushroom, mycelium;

an elemental language of nitrogen.

. . .

The lion speaks to the lamb;

a different elemental exchange.

. . .

What language, what elemental language

shall we use to bridge the gap between us?

. . .

There are modern methods, efficient,

shrinking time, dissolving space;

telegraph, telephone, pagers, email,

text messages, chat rooms, skype,

instant messenger, snapchat, facetime and zoom.

. . .

. . .People continue to pursue

. . .possessions and diversions;

. . .streaming, tweeting, linked in

. . .to their facebook friends, distracted,

. . .distanced from the physical:

. . .an electrified corporate dependency.

. . .

There is a chasm

between silicon and carbon

that software cannot fill.

ON LINE COMMENTS OF THE WEEK

[1] For the first time I visited a Costco store this morning, and what a store! It is massive, and brightly lit, full of everything imaginable. My wife asked me to drive her there; there was a wall unit AC she saw advertised for a pretty cheap price. (Going to 100°F today) I was there to lift the AC into my truck. In fact, my role in life seems to have been narrowed down to lawn work/yard maintenance and moving heavy stuff with my truck for neighbors and relatives.

I don’t have much to say about it. Costco might be a good place for Preppers to stock up, cheap prices, large lots. I was impressed with their grocery section, which was huge: pallets of eggs, gallon of milk $2.39, crates of bananas, boxes of blueberries and grapes. I picked up a couple of sirloin steaks at $5.99 per pound which I’m fixing to grill up now.

I’m not going to be a regular shopper at Costco but if they advertise something I’m looking for at a good price, I’d go back.

[2] The only reason we have greenrush 2.0 happening during this drought is because of law enforcement. The price was 500/ lb 5 years ago and sinking like a ship. People who were here only to make money from cannabis were leaving in droves. Then greedy government got involved (parasitic vultures) and started the price control operations to justify their exorbitant taxes. If cannabis was truly legal, as the great people of our state want, it would be worth about 300/ lb and the greenrush would disappear. They’ve been wasting billions for decades and here is the result. Not an inch gained in the war on drugs. Blows my mind that ignorant people cheer on the continued fuckery that is cannabis enforcement and the greenrush. Seriously think about it.

And this is happening all over our watersheds and in the Oak woodlands, this has got to stop. Our environment and these sensitive habitats are being destroyed right before our eyes. The fact the creeks are being diverted during this drought with no concern to the environment from the growers tells you these people do not belong in our communities!!

[3] I am not telling you anything you don’t already know when I say that the older you get the more life becomes all about illness and death, either friends, relatives, or your own.

I got a very unusual and disturbing phone call the other day. It came from Richard A. (goes by Dick) who was my best bud from grammar school through high school. That is where our paths diverged, me to college, he into the Navy. He’s the guy that got me involved in shooting pool at 13 years old. He had a table in his basement. Eventually I was best man at his wedding after which we totally lost touch for decades until I called to tell him about my brother dying (Sept 2014). 

Other than that there has been zero contact until he called me out of the blue two days ago. It would be hard for me to describe how bizarre this conversation was. I said “Dick, I am flabbergasted to get this call from you, what’s up, what’s happening?” He says, “Wait a minute, I didn’t call YOU, You called me.” From there on for half an hour it was one thing after another where I realized he was demented. He’s my age, actually 4 months older. I told him I had thought about him on July 11th when he turned 81. There was a delay in his response. The conversation seemed to be happening in slow motion. He said “I thought I was more like 83.” 

I changed the subject and asked if he had gotten “the vaccine.” He had no idea what I was referring to…Covid, none of it. I asked if he spent any time on the computer…a blank. “What about Facebook?” He says “what’s Facebook?” I said “you know who Mark Zuckerberg is, right?” Long hesitation…then he says “yeah, I think I’ve heard that name.”

To the best of my knowledge Dick is living alone in Wildwood Crest, NJ. I am now in a search for his sister Leslie because Dick should not be left alone in his mental condition.

[4] This [Bell] fire was a little too close for comfort. I have a go bag for everyone in the house and a list of things I may forget in a rush, ready to go at any moment. But these last few years have been sooo stressful for the family.

It seems like just a matter of time before the whole damn state is on fire and we all burn down, so I always have extra to help my fellow neighbors if need be and try to our part in property prep and what not but people this is the new normal and we need to prepare our families AND our community.

Thank you to the firefighters who work these fires at a moment’s notice in extreme weather to try to save our homes and communities.

[5] VISITORS, an on-line comment: Went to an estate sale this morning. Met a lovely family from Idaho, who were apparently here selling grandma’s estate. When I got out of my vehicle, I asked if they would like me to wear a mask and stated that I’ve been vaccinated. The woman replied, “Oh no, we’re from Idaho and we don’t do that.” Now, I know better to engage in that conversation, but I should have told her that my niece visited Idaho early on in the pandemic and contracted COVID-19. What is wrong with people?!! So, just a reminder - our hospital has 25 beds to serve the entire coastal community surrounding FB, and only 6 max of those beds are for intensive care. So, be safe out there as we have visitors who may be contagious, and, in this case, are planning to go to the botanical gardens today. 

[6] Phew! Glitterati from all over the world flying into Martha’s Vineyard on private Gulfstream IVs for Obama’s Birthday Bash; Meanwhile, in Obama’s Hometown, Chicago, at least 50 people already shot so far this weekend, including 2 police officers, one of whom is dead, one critical. Apparently Obama’s $15 million mansion was built on water’s edge, so apparently nobody is worried too much about ‘Sea level rise’. Many of the Honored Guests arrived on massive motor yachts the size of WW2 Navy Destroyers. Those things are powered up by diesel fueled turbines that really suck up the juice. I don’t know if the Climate Czar — John Kerry — sailed over from Nantucket in his impressive yacht. Eventually the guest list will be released. Springsteen’s daughter has been competing in equestrian events at the Olympics. My brain started mulling around how much it must have cost to raise an Olympics level equestrian. It got to 7 digit numbers, and I gave up with a couple conclusions: the expense of transporting the horse to Tokyo and back was a mere drop in the overall cost bucket; and her daddy’s working class hero routine paid off really, really well.

REAL ESTATE DEALS, an on-line story: 

Way back in 1973 an old Spanish land grant in New Mexico was subdivided into 5 acre lots and offered up for sale as a place in the sun with an airstrip and fun for everyone.

25 miles in either direction from the closest paved road, it occupied a high desert plateau of scrub juniper and cholla cactus. Inaccessible during the monsoon season for the muddy roads and blasted by winter winds, the thousand or so parcels sold quickly for as little as $500, by the time I bought one over the internet one dark desperate Michigan winter in 2004 the 5 acres cost $1,5000. I ran out there, actually found enough half buried survey markers to locate the property and from a pay phone at the nearby national wildlife refuge called the land company agent in Texas to tell him I wanted it.

A much longer story condensed, that scrap of nothing in the middle of nowhere became a pivot point in my life, eventually moving to New Mexico and the closest small town where I bought an old adobe house and embarked on a late life career with the US Forest Service as a firefighter and recreation/forestry tech.

All the while I paid the $15 a year property taxes and occasionally camped out at the "ranchita".

The utter solitude and emptiness of that place was its greatest value, the development never happened, the airstrip completely grown over and other than a couple of desiccated small trailers scattered about... no one there. A few traces of other would be settlers remained, a couple piles of rocks and weathered to the point of being illegible 'No Trespassing' and 'For Sale by Owner' signs, it was the habitat of jackrabbits, pinyon jays and the occasional pronghorn antelope.

It was beautiful.

One Comment

  1. Pat Kittle August 19, 2021

    The author clearly appreciates the virtues of a small human population…

    — “It seems like just a matter of time before the whole damn state is on fire and we all burn down”
    — “The utter solitude and emptiness of that place was its greatest value,”
    — “it was the habitat of jackrabbits, pinyon jays and the occasional pronghorn antelope.”

    …BUT — if you suggest that human population growth is catastrophic & we really ought to get serious about wisely reversing it, he’ll call you a racistnazikkkfascistxenophobe.

    And that’s all the further he’ll allow himself to think about it.

    Cognitive dissonance has that effect on people.

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