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Dirty Hippies (Nov. 21, 2001)

Richard Johnson’s irregularly published “Mendocino Country Environmentalist” of November 12, 2001 contains what at first appears to be an ad for Pacific Internet of Ukiah. But the copy surrounding Pacific Internet’s logo reads, “You know you’re a dirty hippie when Pacific Internet says: ‘Authentication Denied.’ After 7 years of getting untold thousands of dollars in advertising from MENDOCINO COUNTRY, the local service provider that has grown to cover all northern California, cuts our service with no bill for service, no warning.”

Not exactly.

Mendocino Country’s editor and publisher, Richard Johnson, also known as The One True Green, is a notorious nickle noser and deadbeat.

Is Richard Johnson a dirty hippie? 

Based on a Johnson sighting just last Friday, the One True Green looks more like an old wino just out of rehab than he does a Mendo bush muffin.

Wake up, Richard! You were a dirty hippie thirty years ago. Hippie is dead. While you were lusting after the yum-yum girls out at Orr Hot Springs, Hippie disappeared with the Summer of Love, Hep-C and sexually transmitted diseases. Hippie went home, changed clothes, and got jobs as lawyers and school administrators. 

You and Verge and Beth Bosk are the last hippies in all of Mendocino County, and there’s a rumor going around that the Smithsonian plans to chloroform Verge and ship him off for display at the Last Hippie Exhibit in D.C. Good luck with Beth, but your people skills are going to need a serious overhaul.

Where have all the flowers gone? Back to the florist, Richard, because you didn’t pay for them. It’s a cash economy, bro, not big free buckets of vegetarian slop at full moon Albion boogies.  

Hippie is over, Richard, over. O-v-e-r. 

Jim Persky is the President of Pacific Internet. “It’s funny,” laughed Persky. “His ad is pretty good. It’s almost like a t-shirt logo. Of course, this guy’s never paid his bills on time. He got phone calls from us, written notices, months and months of extensions. Finally, we said, Look — this is your last chance. He had tons of warnings. We have it all documented. I guess he didn’t believe us when we told him we’d have to cut him off if he doesn’t pay. So we did! I don’t know where he got that ‘authentication denied’ — when you don’t pay, you just don’t get on. He got a 30 day email notice, a 15-day written notice, a day it’s due written notice… We do five notices before we cut someone off.

“But like I said, it’s pretty funny. I thought about complaining that he was using our trademarked logo without permission. I guess that’s what he wants though. He’s trying to get our attention. 

“This started a few years ago when he offered to give us an ad in exchange for paying us for service. We let him run an ad for us for years in exchange for service. Richard Johnson doesn’t have a good reputation. Anyone who knows him would read this and say, ‘Hey! I’m signing up with Pacific Internet!’ So in that sense this might be a better ad than the regular one he was running. The problem is that some people might think he’s real. 

“What’s even funnier is that the two ads around it are very good friends of mine. Both David Raitt, the guy who runs California Yurts, and the Frey family, who makes the organic wine — I should call them up and suggest they stop their ads. 

“To be honest, we never wanted any ads in his paper. Years ago he couldn’t pay a bill. So I said, Sure, whatever. Run an ad. I thought we might get something out of it. But we weren’t getting any business from that ad. Not any. So we just decided we didn’t want to do that anymore and we told him he’d have to pay. I think we even gave him a discount rate for some stupid reason. He was calling and complaining and browbeating and finally we just said we’d had enough. It was kind of a joyous day for us when we ended his account. He owes us for months and months which we gave him for nothing because the ad didn’t bring us any new business. 

“It is a cute ad, you’ve got to admit. ‘You know you’re a dirty hippie when…’ Maybe he gets it. I don’t know. KZYX is the only media outlet that takes him seriously. They’re a pair — two dim bulbs. KZYX is another disaster like Johnson. Of course KZYX gets money from MCN so what do you expect?”

Would Persky ever give Johnson his account back? 

“Not in my lifetime,” replies Persky. “Even if he came up with the cash. At this point I think we’d both be happier if we ended our relationship. It’s not worth the hassle. Actually, I kind of like the ad. We’re going to blow it up and put it on the wall.” 

Mr. Persky’s accounting manager Deedee Butler is even more blunt in her assessment of Johnson.

“The account was shut off because he was two and a half months in arrears. I don’t think he got ‘authentication denied.’ He probably got a password error because I shut the account off personally and I was very happy to do it. 

“We never got any referrals from that ad. Not one. So I told him we wanted to stop the ad. At first he talked us back into giving him another try. Someone else here did that, not me. I was on vacation. I wouldn’t have given him any more free time. Then he kept sending us emails wanting to update our ad. I told him I didn’t have time for that and the ad was useless anyway! I told him, ‘Keep running whatever it is, I don’t really care.’ He actually wrote back, ‘You need to change your tired old looking ad.’ I explained to Mr. Johnson, ‘Excuse me, but that tired old looking ad is our company logo! Why don’t you just leave it alone?’ When I shut his account off he didn’t call or email. He just ran that insulting ad. Of course he couldn’t email, so he faxed me an abusive note saying I was losing thousands of dollars worth of business and that I had better turn his account back on immediately. I faxed him back and said, ‘As soon as you bring me some money I’ll turn your account back on!

“He never once offered to send any money. Instead, I guess he thought he was going to get me in trouble. He went in to Jim and changed the wording to ‘Deedee did this and Deedee did that.’ He brought it in to Jim in a confidential envelope. I heard he went to MCN. I think MCN deserves him. They do! That’s a nice match!

“What he should have said in his insulting ad was, ‘After seven years and untold thousands of dollars Pacific Internet never did get one lead from the ads he was running!’ It just got to the point that he was bothering me and I told him so. I don’t have time to deal with him and I don’t care if that ad runs. I don’t really care. If he’s saying he spent thousands of dollars — well, stupid him! He should have only been spending $20 a month because that’s all our accounts cost. He’d become a big problem so I just got rid of him. I guess I’ll have to check out future editions of the Environmentalist to see if they start running MCN ads.”

One Comment

  1. John Robert December 10, 2021

    Bruce,

    Last time I’d spoke to you, was about my businesses. 2007,
    me thinks..the Times are strange the beginning.
    Let’s build decks and porches. Wanted you to be the first(for historic purposes)read it…Redbeard for Fifth District Supervisor !
    Who knows the Fifth District better?

    RedBeard

    Supervisor
    for Fifth District
    Vote Redbeard for Mendocino County 5th District Supervisor

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