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Mendocino County Today: Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021

Skies Clear | 26 Cases | Burger Band | Pizza Weekend | Mosaic Arch | Winter Shelter | Water Tower | Grow Up | Memorable Cow | NaphCare Contract | Campground Unrest | Sculptor | Ad Hoc-ery | Satchel Paige | Ed Notes | Red Planet | Interested Party | Yesterday's Catch | Rittenhousing | Santa Yoga | Marco Radio | DIY Wheelchair | Cannabis Grant | Knife Fight | Dark Winter | Neck Warmer | Opium Wars

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NICE LATE FALL WEATHER is expected for the weekend as high pressure builds aloft and skies clear. A weak front will approach the North Coast late Monday with a chance of light rain over the region Monday night. Thereafter a period of dry weather is expected. (NWS)

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26 NEW COVID CASES reported in Mendocino County yesterday afternoon.

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HAMBURGER SATURDAY! 

Hello Yorkville,

Tomorrow is supposed to be another lovely, sunny Autumn day and we will be making burgers to order from 12:30ish until 4:30ish (or sold out). In addition to our world famous beef patties we will also have Beyond Burgers and the delicious portobello burgers.

Dillion will be jamming with his band Mother Cream on the back deck from 3:30-4:30ish. I have attached the flyer - it is sure to be a fun afternoon with funky tunes and lively music!

With the Thanksgiving Holiday next week (and Rosalie's 4th Birthday!!!!) the Market will be closed Monday-Thursday. Friday opening is TBD based on weather, but we will definitely be back on Saturday 11/27 and Sunday 11/28 for our normal hours of 11:00am-5:00pm.

Wishing you all a happy Thanksgiving!

Lisa at Yorkville Market

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PIZZA AT THE BOONVILLE HOTEL & RESTAURANT

Offspring...at the Farrer Building is a woodfired pizza pop-up!! It's happening this Saturday and Sunday from noon-7pm. You can order by walking-in, calling 707.972.2655, or online @ offspringpizza.com. It's take-away with a few outdoor tables at this time...

14111 Highway 128

Boonville, CA 95415

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REBECCA JOHNSON WRITES: Sweet to see my mosaic arch!! #rebeccartjohnson

2005? Created this with help from community friends, donations from local businesses a small grant from the Boonville education foundation, two wonderful high school interns and a dedicated helper Linda Mclure. Two summers of hard back breaking labor. Welded steel armature, cement, ceramic mosaic. A good memory! 

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FORT BRAGG CONTRACTS WITH THE COUNTY TO OPERATE EXTREME WEATHER SHELTER THIS WINTER 

At the November 8th regular Council meeting, the Fort Bragg City Council approved a contract with Mendocino County to operate an Extreme Weather Shelter starting November 15, 2021. The City began discussing options for a Winter Weather Shelter in early September after learning that the Mendocino Coast Hospitality Center would no longer operate its Winter Shelter. 

Due to limited budget, this season’s Shelter will operate only during extreme weather conditions and will utilize local motel vouchers to provide shelter on an as-needed basis. The contract with Mendocino County provides that vouchers will only be issued during severe weather events when all other emergency shelters are at capacity. Individuals are expected to share a double occupancy room and priority will be given to homeless families with children under the age of 16 and severely disabled individuals. The Fort Bragg Police Department will issue the vouchers the same day the weather is deemed severe due to heavy rains and/or lower than normal winter temperatures. 

Mayor Bernie Norvell would like to thank those individuals who helped him pull this together so quickly and at a considerably reduced cost: Police Chief John Naulty, Police Captain Thomas O’Neal, Camille Schraeder and staff from Redwood Community Services, City Manager Tabatha Miller, Mendocino County Social Services Director Bekkie Emery, Supervisor Ted Williams, Mendocino Coast Hospitality Center Executive Director Paul Davis and community members Reverend Randy Knutson, Linda Jo Sterns and Eve Nightswonger. 

Motel Vouchers will be available from November 15, 2021 through March 31, 2022, during extreme weather events, as long as funding last. To check whether the Extreme Weather Shelter is available on any given night or to determine eligibility, please contact the Fort Bragg Police Department at (707) 961-2800 or in person during business hours at 250 Cypress Street, Fort Bragg.

Questions regarding the Extreme Weather Shelter should be directed to the Police Department at (707) 961-2800. 

((Fort Bragg City Presser)

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MARK SCARAMELLA NOTES: This is good news, especially for the people who will get a few cold nights in a Coast motel. But the Fort Bragg press release fails to note the value of the contract or which county department will oversee it (if any). We can not find any record of “emergency winter shelter” on the County’s website for 2021 and it has not appeared on any board agenda. It’s possible that the value of the contract is under $50k which is the trigger for board approval. But still you’d think the subject would appear on a board agenda just so more people know about it. We’ve also heard that besides the list of people who Mr. Norvell rightly thanks, there’s a Mr. Calvin Pierce at the Motel 6 in Fort Bragg who has also been very helpful.

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Mendosa’s Old Water Tower, Mendocino
Mendosa’s New Water Tower, Mendocino

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A READER WRITES: I’m mostly with the Sheriff in his dispute with the CEO and the Supervisors. But come on, why has this been allowed to get this bad? A lawsuit? Nobody is saying the Sheriff is spending any money inappropriately. The issue isn’t Kendall’s opinion of the CEO or vice-versa, the issue is public safety and adequate funding of law enforcement. If Mendo had any serious senior leadership or a bold enough judge, they’d sit the parties down and tell them all to grow up and stop bickering. What’s wrong with these people?

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COVELO NATIVE SON RECOUNTS HIS ENCOUNTER WITH A MUTILATED COW

Covelo native son Jerry Hill visited his childhood home one Thanksgiving break in the late 1970s. He decided to go quail hunting on his family’s one-hundred-acre parcel and stumbled on one of those peculiar experiences that he remembers vividly to this day. In the middle of a field, Hill found a cow, mutilated in a way he had never seen before nor has ever seen since. He told his father, his father told law enforcement, and university researchers would take the dead creature away never to be heard of again. 

mendofever.com/2021/11/18/covelo-native-son-recounts-his-encounter-with-a-mutilated-cow-in-the-1970s/

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SUPERVISOR WILLIAMS:

Public input requested, $3.4M extension to NaphCare contract for Medical Health Services for your Jail

I would like the public's guidance on a $3.4M extension to NaphCare contract for "Medical Health Services for the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) Jail". Please first review session from Tuesday:

williamst@mendocinocounty.org

Discussion and Possible Action Including Approval of Fifth Amendment to BOS Agreement 17-131 with NaphCare Inc. in the Amount of $3,484,847.76 for a New Agreement Total of $19,105,009.38 for Medical Health Services for the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) Jail with a New Term End Date of December 31, 2022; and Receive a Presentation from NaphCare Inc. on the Medical Health Services Provided at the Mendocino County Jail (Sponsor: Sheriff-Coroner)

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KNIFE WIELDING INCIDENT AT VAN DAMME STATE PARK SHINES LIGHT ON THE COMPLEXITIES OF USING STATE PARKS FOR HOMELESS HOUSING

On Tuesday night, law enforcement responded to Van Damme State Beach on the Mendocino County coast after receiving reports a male was armed with a knife making “stabbing motions” and directing threatening gestures towards a woman in the campground. California State Parks Chief Ranger Loren Rex confirmed 34-year-old Fort Bragg man Matthew James Gibson was arrested and booked as a result of the incident. 

mendofever.com/2021/11/19/knife-wielding-incident-at-van-damme-state-park-shines-light-on-the-complexities-of-using-state-parks-for-homeless-housing/

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J.J. Grandville: Sculptor, Illustration from 'Un Autre Monde', 1844

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AD HOC COMMITTEES: WHERE ISSUES GO TO DIE

by Mark Scaramella 

In a reply to a skeptical facebook inquiry recently Supervisor Ted Williams said that the Supervisors have “about 28” ad hoc committees, adding that they “do not have authority, beyond bringing an idea forward in a properly noticed, public meeting of the full board.”

“About 28”? When the ad hoc committees were reviewed in September there were 16. 

mendocinocounty.org/home/showpublisheddocument/42413/637545957137100000

Now, only two months later there are “about 28”?

“Board Rule 31. Ad Hoc Committees — Ad hoc committees may be formed by Chair directive or Board action and shall include prescribed duties and membership of the committee. Status reports from ad hoc committees shall be made to the Board at each regular meeting. Ad hoc committees are encouraged to conclude their business at the end of each calendar year but may be extended at the recommendation of the committee and approval of the Board. The Chief Executive Officer/Clerk of the Board will maintain a current index of ad hoc committees and their purpose.” 

When this board assigns ad hoc committees nothing resembling “prescribed duties” are specified other than a vague topic. That’s the primary reason for the current ad hoc committee bloat. Most of these committees are formed whimsically at the Board meetings with very little thought given to them. They appear to be a convenient way to “table” an issue and pretend that something is being done when very little is being done. Of the first 16 listed on the County’s website, there have been no required “status reports” at “regular meetings.” If the Supervisors were serious, they’d have a much more specific method for assigning ad hoc committees and at least follow their own rule by setting target completion dates and providing written status reports. As it is, ad hoc committees have become a substitute for board action and the fact that there are “about 28” of them is a clear indication of how little any of them are doing. It’s amusing that the last time they reviewed the ad hoc committees the only status report they provided was that they are “active.” A more accurate status would be “passive.”

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Satchel Paige (Kansas City Monarchs)

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ED NOTES

COVID has cancelled the half-century-old Redwood Classic, the Redwood Empire's oldest basketball tournament, so AVHS's first game of this year's hoop season will be Friday night’s varsity only game against Tomales in distant Tomales. Luis Espinoza is boys coach, Matt Bullington assistant coach. Justin Rhoades is coaching the girls team.

ASSUMING covid will some day end and the Redwood Classic resumes, the tourney's interim absence presents a perfect opportunity to re-do it as a purely local event, three days of basketball without the hotshot teams from the Bay Area's private schools who have walked off with the big trophy for years now. Locals want locals. Only the administrative sloth of previous school regimes saddled us with outside-the-area teams, it being simpler to invite the same schools year after year to play the same brackets year after year.

HOW ABOUT a tournament composed of teams from the Emerald Triangle only? Or, better yet, Mendo, Lake and HumCo only? Attendance at the Redwood Classic has been down for years. Us rural hoops fans have zero interest in watching Marin County powerhouse Branson, say, sadistically humiliate Boonville or some other hapless small school by 50 points. Or that LA private school heavy with Division One college recruits? Who cares? 

I DON'T PRETEND to speak for locals, but I have spoken to enough of them to know my opinion is widely shared. We want an annual basketball tournament composed of high school teams from only the Emerald Triangle, and no jokes, please, about the All Doobie Team. 

THERE HAVE BEEN YEARS when Boonville could run with the big dogs, and occasionally Boonville produces a group of hoopsters who can hold its own with big schools, assuming a big school from the Emerald Triangle dares risk taking on Boonville or Point Arena or Laytonville or Covelo. Boonville beat Ukiah twice one year, and Ukiah has refused to play a small school ever since. Farther back, Boonville ran SoCo powerhouse Cardinal Newman clear out of the Boonville gym. And I remember a Point Arena team featuring the Oropeza brothers who could have given anybody trouble. Anyway, Down with Branson!

SPORTS FANS would appear in droves for an annual, all-Northcoast high school basketball tournament. They will continue to stay away in droves if half the teams in the tournament are from far, far away.

THE PORTLAND CITY COUNCIL has unanimously restored $5.2 million of the $15 million it took from the police budget cut last year. The move comes as the city deals with record murder rates not seen since the 1980s and a staffing shortage that has led city leaders to consider hiring back retired cops to help keep order. Unrest continues to plague the city. Last month, the city surpassed 66 homicides — breaking the record set in 1987 with three months left in the year. Last year, Portland recorded 55 murders, nearly triple the total of 20 in 2016. “Many Portlanders no longer feel safe,” Mayor Ted Wheeler said. “And it is our duty, as leaders of this city, to take action and deliver better results within our crisis response system.” Night after night, hundreds of people marched the streets of Oregon's largest city demanding racial justice after the murder of George Floyd by a white officer. Among the rallying cries were “defund the police” — a call for elected officials to reallocate some law enforcement funding elsewhere. In June 2020, the Portland City Council and the mayor answered by cutting $15 million from the police budget. An additional $12 million was cut due to pandemic-caused economic shortfalls. As a result, school resource officers, transit police and a gun violence reduction team — which was found to disproportionately target Black Portland residents during traffic stops, according to an audit in March 2018 — were disbanded. Now, a year and a half later, officials partially restored the cut funds. The added police spending is occurring amid a year of a record number of homicides, the city's greatest police staffing shortage in decades and reform recommendations made by the US Department of Justice.

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Mars

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HOW NAPA’S CAKEBREAD WINERY ABSOLVED ITSELF OF STARTING ONE OF CALIFORNIA’S MOST DESTRUCTIVE FIRES 

[Cakebread Cellars has a vineyard and other property in Boonville]

An electric fence at a vineyard was suspected of sparking the 2020 Glass Fire. So the winery commissioned its own investigation.

by Esther Mobley

August 19, 2021

In the late September days following the eruption of the Glass Fire, which would turn out to be the 10th-most-destructive wildfire in California history, officials zeroed in on one possible point of origin: an electric fence at a vineyard, high up a rugged ridgeline on Howell Mountain.

It belonged to Cakebread Cellars, one of Napa Valley’s most famous wineries.

The Cakebread family understood what was at stake. Anyone would have, especially after seeing the example set by Pacific Gas and Electric Co. The utility, whose equipment has caused more than 1,500 fires since 2014, has set aside billions of dollars to pay the fires’ victims.

If Cakebread’s vineyard fence were found to have sparked the Glass Fire, and if the winery were found guilty of negligence or another statutory violation, it would have been vulnerable to lawsuits from Cal Fire, the state’s firefighting agency, as well as the owners of 650 destroyed homes.

Those damages would amount to “a very sobering number,” said Richard Linkert, a lawyer representing Cakebread. “I know it would have a lot of zeroes.”

So the Cakebreads jumped to action. Rather than wait for CalFire to complete a report on the fire’s origins, a process that could take upwards of a year, the winery undertook its own investigation.

Soon they’d retained Linkert, an experienced wildfire attorney who proceeded to hire an extensive crew of forensic and technical experts. The findings from this commission, which focused on analyses of photographs taken in the fire’s early hours, exonerated Cakebread, showing that the fence did not ignite the Glass Fire and that the blaze did not start on its property.

Those findings heavily informed Cal Fire’s own investigation, whose results were published this month. The evidence that Cakebread provided allowed investigators to “rule out” their vineyard property, fire Capt. Gary Uboldi wrote. (PG&E power lines were also ruled out.) Ultimately, Uboldi and his colleagues were unable to determine an exact cause or point of origin of the Glass Fire.

It’s common for Cal Fire to make use of privately funded research in its wildfire investigations, according to Ken Pimlott, a former director of Cal Fire who wasn’t involved in inquiries into the Glass Fire. But the scope of the Cakebread study, unprecedented for a California winery, raises questions about the state’s independence and points to possible new ways in which businesses with a lot to lose may seek to play a larger role in the future of natural-disaster accountability.

Of the 14 people interviewed for Uboldi’s report, nine represented Cakebread.

Members of the Cakebread family swear they were seeking the truth, not simply absolution, and instructed their consultants accordingly. “If it was us, we were going to take our lumps with it. We wanted to understand what happened there,” said co-owner Bruce Cakebread. “But if it wasn’t us, we wanted to understand that, too.”

Cakebread Cellars is one of Napa’s most storied names. Since the family first started its eponymous winery in 1973, it has developed a devoted following for its Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon wines and for its luxurious tasting room on Highway 29 in Rutherford.

The company’s land holdings extend far beyond that Rutherford address. The Cakebreads own about 1,000 acres in Napa Valley, including a 210-acre parcel above St. Helena on Howell Mountain. They call their 27 acres of grapevines here Dancing Bear Ranch; Cakebread Cellars produces one of its highest-end red wines from here, sold for about $150 per bottle.

Any implication that the winery was responsible for starting a massive wildfire would have threatened Cakebread’s public image and its standing in the Napa wine community — a danger that the family understood from the start.

A KTVU report on Sept. 30 that Cal Fire was investigating the Dancing Bear Ranch electric fence created a sense of urgency to get in front of the story. “We had a lot of reputational damage,” said CEO Mike Jaeger.

Jaeger and his team engaged Linkert the very same day. Typically, companies hire him two years after a fire, once they’re already being sued, he said. Linkert assembled a brain trust — an electrical engineer, forensic animator, fire investigator and fire engineer — to work on Cakebread’s behalf.

The final bill hasn’t yet been tallied, but Jaeger said the winery has spent “several hundred thousand dollars” on the project so far.

The main piece of exculpatory evidence: five photographs taken during the Glass Fire’s first moments, between 3:37 and 3:54 a.m. Two were taken by Steve Burgess, the former owner of Burgess Cellars, who snapped iPhone photos from his Howell Mountain porch just as the blaze was becoming visible. The images show a pitch-black night with bright orange flames advancing across a ridge. (Cakebread showed me the images but would not release them for publication, citing concerns that the images could be manipulated.)

Those photos turned out to contain key information, said Toby Terpstra, a forensic video technician whom Cakebread hired. Terpstra specializes in re-creating scenes based on photographs or videos, such as those taken at the scene of a vehicle accident. He often uses a technique called photogrammetry, which enables measurements to be taken from an image. Terpstra plotted the location of the fire at the time those photographs were taken.

According to Terpstra, his models revealed that by 4 a.m. on Sept. 27, the Glass Fire had already begun — but had not yet reached the area with the electric fence. Although the blaze did arrive at Dancing Bear Ranch sometime before dawn, those early pictures offer incontrovertible proof, Cakebread’s team believes, that it could not have been the origin point.

Cal Fire did not use photogrammetry techniques in its Glass Fire investigation, and it’s unclear whether it has in the past. Pimlott, who retired from Cal Fire in 2018, was not familiar with it. The technology is not yet widespread, Terpstra said; he estimated that about 50 companies in the country employ it. The U.S. Geological Survey is now using photogrammetry to create maps, and independent forensic technician John DeHaan said he has commissioned photogrammetry in fire investigations he’s led in the past.

In December, when Cakebread’s team presented Cal Fire with their findings — which came in the form of a highly produced short film — it changed the course of the official investigation, Uboldi’s report suggested.

“From the video and pictures, I saw I could rule out my prior identified location of interest for the origin of the fire at 300 North Fork Crystal Springs Road which is owned by Cakebread vineyards,” Uboldi wrote.

Cal Fire did not respond to a request for comment for this story.

Heat maps collected by the California National Guard at 4:16 a.m. on Sept. 27 would eventually corroborate this, as a diagram in the Uboldi’s report shows. The heat maps indicate that there was a period when the fire was burning but had not yet engulfed Dancing Bear Ranch.

Theoretically, that made the electric-fence hypothesis moot, but Cakebread’s investigators insist that the fence could not have caused the fire anyway.

The winery had initially installed the fence to keep bears and deer from eating the grapes. But after finding that the animals could easily hop the fence, it switched to putting bird netting over the vines instead. The netting has done a better job of protecting the fruit, Bruce Cakebread said, and they hadn’t turned the fence on for a couple of years.

Cal Fire investigators found the electric fence’s controller set to the “off” position during their initial inspection of the property, according to the state report. If someone had turned the fence back on, Bruce Cakebread said, he would have been notified under the company’s protocol.

“One might easily mistake it for an origin area,” Linkert said of the fence. The burn pattern on the ground, showing char in a V-pattern advancing up a slope, looked like a possible beginning, said Linkert. So it makes sense that Uboldi had focused on the fence so intently for the first few months.

But the results of the photogrammetry eliminated that possibility, Linkert said. With only one other, de-energized power line on Dancing Bear Ranch, that left no other ignition sources on Cakebread’s land, according to him.

Cal Fire agreed.

As wildfires become more frequent and destructive in California, the stakes for holding someone accountable are growing higher, too. Victims who lose homes, businesses or loved ones can — and do — seek compensation. With residents and commercial property owners finding it increasingly difficult to secure wildfire insurance, litigation may become an increasingly important part of that compensation process. And understanding the exact cause of each fire can help mitigate future disasters.

When a Cal Fire investigation comes up inconclusive, which is not a rare occurrence, it can be frustrating to victims.

“Everyone was hoping for a more definitive response from Cal Fire,” said Sonoma County Supervisor Susan Gorin, who represents areas affected by the Glass Fire. She hopes more information may yet come to light: “There will certainly be more discussion about the origin.”

These dynamics take on unique meaning in Wine Country, which has suffered numerous megafires in recent years. While a winery or vineyard has not been found culpable for sparking any of those blazes, these rural agricultural parcels often contain fuel sources — electrical equipment, large propane storage tanks and power tools.

Wineries are also often public-facing businesses, dependent on the goodwill of customers and wary of the sort of public-relations nightmare that PG&E has endured.

On top of that, wealthy businesses such as wineries may be able to offer resources that perpetually under-resourced Cal Fire lacks. If an individual or a business has collected its own information — as insurance companies frequently do — Cal Fire will want to look at it.

“At the end of the day, Cal Fire or the local unit is responsible for conducting the investigation, but any public agency will rely on bringing in additional experts,” said Pimlott, the retired Cal Fire director. Conducting an examination like this “really takes expertise that’s available both in the public and private sector.”

Such an arrangement presents ethical questions: Can evidence be credible if its collection is funded by an interested party? “There’s a clear conflict of interest there,” said Timothy Ingalsbee, executive director of Firefighters United for Safety, Ethics and Ecology, a nonprofit that promotes wildland management practices.

Nevertheless, multiple experts confirmed, it’s standard for Cal Fire to incorporate information provided by private investigators working on behalf of an insurance carrier or a company like Cakebread. All relevant information should be considered and reviewed, no matter who collected it, Ingalsbee said.

“A lot of it comes back to the integrity of the private-sector investigator,” said forensic technician DeHaan. The attitude, he said, is “we’re going to look at all the options and test all the hypotheses and keep our minds open.”

Pimlott said Cal Fire corroborates outside information it receives and carefully guards investigations against meddling.

“You are always protecting the area of origin like a crime scene,” he said. “It doesn’t mean a crime was committed, but they are treated like that.”

Just like people accused of crimes, companies implicated in wildfire causation have varying means to spend on their defenses. Cakebread’s investigation could set a new example for how businesses can work to clear their names of wrongdoing. But not every business, not even every Napa Valley winery, has several hundred thousand dollars for such an endeavor.

For the Cakebreads, the arrival of the Cal Fire report seemed to mark the end of a long, anxiety-ridden saga. While it’s possible the winery could still face lawsuits from victims, Linkert said the extent of the evidence they collected and its endorsement by Cal Fire would likely dissuade people from such actions. If someone wanted to file a suit, Linkert said, he’s confident that they’d change their minds after seeing the high-production value video he showed Cal Fire.

Cakebread’s absolution doesn’t change the fact that investigators still don’t know what caused the Glass Fire, and it’s possible they never will. Knowing that Cakebread isn’t responsible doesn’t ease the pain of this community, a fact that co-owner Dennis Cakebread acknowledged. “No matter where it started, it was still a horrible event,” he said.

Still, he added, “I’ve got to admit there’s a certain feeling of relief.”

(SF Chronicle)

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CATCH OF THE DAY, November 19, 2021

Gonzalez, James, Lell, Lopez

IVAN GONZALEZ-RIVERA, Calpella. Domestic abuse.

ROBERT JAMES SR., Ukiah. DUI-alcohol&drugs, no license.

SHAUN LELL, Ukiah. Brandishing, cruelty to animal, transient registration, county parole violation, resisting.

PEDRO LOPEZ-GARCIA, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, trespassing refusing to leave.

Maciel, Magpie, Ranft, Redzic

RAMON MACIEL, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent flyer.)

CALVIN MAGPIE JR., Sacramento/Ukiah. Failure to appear.

LELAND ‘LILY’ RANFT, Ukiah. Parole violation.

EMIL REDZIC, Concord/Ukiah. Domestic battery, vehicle theft, controlled substance, forge/alter vehicle registration, suspended license, reckless evasion.

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THE RITTENHOUSE VERDICT IS ONLY SHOCKING IF YOU FOLLOWED THE LAST YEAR OF TERRIBLE REPORTING

A year of pronouncing the "Kenosha shooter" a murderer could have serious real-world consequences

by Matt Taibbi

Kyle Rittenhouse was found innocent on all six felony charges today, already causing a great exploding of heads in the pundit-o-sphere. Unrest wouldn’t be surprising. How could it be otherwise? Colleagues in national media spent over a year telling the country the 18-year-old was not just guilty, but a moral monster whose acquittal would be an in-your-face affirmation of systemic white supremacy.

It used to bother me that journalists were portrayed in pop culture as sniveling, amoral weenies. Take William Atherton’s iconic portrayal in Die Hard of “Thornburg,” the TV-news creep who gasps, “Tell me you got that!” with orgasmic awe when an explosion rocks the Nakatomi building. I got that — I’d seen that face on reporters. But risking the life of hero John McClane’s wife Holly by putting her name on TV, and getting the info by threatening the family nanny Paulina with an immigration raid? We’re bad, I thought, but not that bad. I got that it was a movie, but my father was a local TV man, and that one stung a bit.

MSNBC Thursday pulled a Thornburg in real life. Police stopped a man named James Morrison who was apparently following a jury bus, and said he was acting at the direction of a New York-based MSNBC producer named Irene Byon. Even if all you’re after is a post-verdict interview, if a jury gets the slightest whiff that the press is searching out their names and addresses, that’s clear intimidation. People will worry about the safety of their spouses and children as they’re deliberating. Not that it matters to anyone but the defense, prosecution, judge, jury, and taxpayers, but you’re also putting the trial at risk. I’ve covered plenty of celebrity trials, from Michael Jackson to the Enron defendants, and know the identifying-jurors practice isn’t unheard of. However, in a powder-keg case like this, it’s bonkers to play it any way but straight.

We’ve seen Die Hard-level indifference to social consequence from the beginning of this case. The context of the Rittenhouse shootings involved a summer of protests that began after the police killing of George Floyd, and continued in Kenosha after the death of Jacob Blake. We saw demonstrations of all types last summer, ranging from solemn candlelight vigils and thousands of protesters laying peacefully on their backs across bridges, to the burning of storefronts and “hundreds” of car thieves stealing “nearly 80” cars from a dealership in San Leandro, California. When the population is on edge, and people are amped and ready to lash out, that puts an even greater onus on media figures to get things right.

In a tinderbox situation like this one, it was reckless beyond belief for analysts to tell audiences Rittenhouse was a murderer when many if not most of them had a good idea he would be acquitted. But that’s exactly what most outlets did. ...

taibbi.substack.com/p/the-rittenhouse-verdict-is-only-shocking


RITTENHOUSE TARGETS


ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY

I like what this commenter said about the Rittenhouse acquittal:

“Not a hung jury. Not a mistrial. Despite all of the prosecutions fuckery at the end, 12 jurors looked at all of the evidence and agreed this was self defense.

And yet, for the past year if you posted that position on Facebook, IG or Twitter it could be removed if someone reported it for “violating community guidelines”. Kid wasn’t even allowed to have a GoFundMe to cover legal costs.

And anyone looking at the fact pattern in the case could see that this was self defense. The whole thing started because an insane child rapist who had just been released from a mental hospital earlier in the day chased Kyle, a minor at the time, around a dark parking lot.

Then he was attacked with a skateboard. Then a dude who was illegally conceal/carrying a gun pointed it at him after pretending to put his hands up.

And the Democrats and the media defended all of that shit. Tried to paint the five time child rapist as a good family man.

I’m glad this kid walked, but our media is a fucking joke.”


A READER WRITES: I don’t have any problem with the Rittenhouse jury verdict. My problem is with Wisconsin’s (and many other states’) open carry law which makes these kinds of deadly encounters more and more likely. Not only does it encourage kids and misfits like Rittenhouse to do what he did, but it endangers and complicates law enforcement. From what I’ve seen, Wisconsin has no firearm registration law, no assault weapons laws, no magazine size restrictions, and no background check requirements for private sales. Unfortunately, with this verdict I think there will be more incidents like this, especially in the 20 states, including Wisconsin, where open loaded carry is legal without a permit. (California is not one of them.) Here’s Wisconsin’s open carry law:

“Unless other facts and circumstances that indicate a criminal or malicious intent on the part of the person apply, a person is not in violation of, and may not be charged with a violation of, this section [disorderly conduct] for loading a firearm, or for carrying or going armed with a firearm or a knife, without regard to whether the firearm is loaded or the firearm or the knife is concealed or openly carried.”


THE RIGHTWING'S hero: Kyle Rittenhouse is now a free man, but he's far from leaving the spotlight. Fox News Channel's Tucker Carlson revealed Friday that there was a Fox Nation crew filming for a Tucker Carlson Original documentary that will appear on the streaming platform in December. He will also sit down with Rittenhouse this Monday during Fox News Channel primetime for the young man's first televised interview following his not guilty verdict. But Rittenhouse's lawyer, Mark Richards, told CNN he 'did not approve of that,' referring to the film crew being with Rittenhouse during the trial, and even 'threw them out of the room several times.' 'I don't think a film crew is appropriate for something like this, but the people who were raising the money to pay for the experts and to pay for the attorneys were trying to raise money and that was part of it, so I think, I don't want to say an evil but a definite distraction was part of it,' he told Chris Cuomo Friday. 'I didn't approve of it but I'm not always the boss.' Rittenhouse, 18, was found not guilty Friday of all charges against him after a highly publicized, contentious trial that has split the nation. He smiled in the backseat of an SUV as he was driven away from the Kenosha courthouse after being declared not guilty, later commenting that 'self-defense is not illegal.' Tucker himself referred to the verdict Friday as 'a wonderful moment,' praising the jury and insisting 'all of us should be celebrating.' The film crew and upcoming documentary raise questions about just what influence Carlson - one of the nation's most-watched cable news hosts and highly influential conservative commentator - had on Rittenhouse in the lead-up to and during the trial, and whether or not Rittenhouse was or will be paid for the documentary.  

— Daily Mail

* * *

* * *

MOTA: GOOD NIGHT RADIO LIVE FROM FRANKLIN STREET ALL NIGHT TONIGHT!

Hi! Marco here. Deadline to email your writing for tonight's (Friday night's) MOTA show is about 6pm, but don't let that bug you. If you're not done with it, whatever it is, send it when it's done and I'll read it on the radio /next/ week.

Or call during the show and read your work in your own voice. I'll be in the clean, well-lighted back room of the storefront studio at 325 N. Franklin, where the number is 962-3022. If there'll be swears, please wait until after 10pm, to not agitate the weasels.

Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio is every Friday, 9pm to 5am on 107.7fm KNYO-LP Fort Bragg as well as anywhere else via http://airtime.knyo.org:8040/128 (That's the regular link to listen to KNYO in real time.)

Any day or night you can go to https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com and hear last week's MOTA show. By Saturday night the recording of tonight's show will also be there.

Besides all that, there you'll find a hot mess of educational gravy biscuits to stuff yourself with until showtime, or any time, such as:

Lester Hubble and the Planets. All the hits. All the great times.

https://newatlas.com/space/hubble-opal-jupiter-saturn-uranus-neptune/

This robot from /Laputa, Castle in the Sky/ is a sugar cookie, but a sugar cookie who can fly and cut an aerial battleship in half with a beam of energy from its eye.

https://popculturista.com/p/laputian-robot-from-ghiblis-castle-in-the-sky-made-out-of-sugar

Preparing the breadfish.

https://misscellania.blogspot.com/2021/11/tweet-of-day_02121862170.html

And attractively posed ersatz disembowelled cadavers made of wood and clay, just waiting for ancient Hebrew runes on a strip of paper to be placed under their tongue, animating them to rise up and push wheelbarrows of bricks and earth back and forth to build up a tower to Heaven (or destroy the town, depending on the thoroughness of the practical lexical magic experimenter's grasp of the form).

https://www.amusingplanet.com/2016/06/the-strangely-seductive-victorian-era.html

Marco McClean, memo@mcn.org, https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com

* * *

Mobile Lawn Chair

* * *

CANNABIS EQUITY GRANT PUBLIC MEETING & 2021 GRANT FUNDING DEADLINE 

The County of Mendocino Cannabis Program in partnership with Elevate Impact Mendocino will be hosting a public meeting regarding the Equity Grant on Wednesday, December 1, 2021 from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. (PST). Registration is required and must be submitted prior to the start of the meeting. 

To register for this event please click the following link: www.mendocinocounty.org/cannabiswebinar. 

Important Grant Funding Information for 2021:

Due to the holiday season, the time-line to issue a direct grant check has been severely compressed. Therefore, if you would like to receive a Direct Grant check in 2021, you must submit your Direct Grant Application, Budget and Insurance by November 29th. Please note there will be grant funds available next year in 2022. However, if you are hoping to receive a grant check in 2021 you must complete your direct grant application and submit insurance by November 29th. If you if you do not have insurance, you're welcome to submit a Direct Grant Application with an insurance quote and a budget. A Direct Grant submission is still subject to review and approval. And again, Direct Grant funds will be available next year. 

Sincerely, 

Mendocino Cannabis Program Staff

* * *

“Did you bring parliamentary procedure to a knife fight again?”

* * *

TRIPPING OVER THE DOORSILL into “Joe Biden’s” dark winter, what do you see out in the gathering gloom? That old Shining City on a Hill is looking more like Detroit in a sleet-storm, with dumpster fires sputtering here and there in the broken streets. The darkness descending is something more ominous than any ordinary night. In the shadows, an insectile legion seems to be stealing away with what remains of your country..... Why? Because we are ever deeper into the age of Anything Goes and Nothing Matters. Every institution in American life is failing. The people are finally starting to see how this works at the same time that they see how the vaccines work. It did not have to be, but we allowed it to get this far, and now so many things are broken that there is barely any honorable and effective authority left. As the long night falls over the land, we survey the terrain and see fiery eruptions on the horizon. Is that the flashing of chaos in the distance? In the darkness it’s hard to tell how close it may be. 

— James Kunstler

* * *

HENRY DAVID THOREAU, daguerreotype by Benjamin Maxham, 1856.

Thoreau

The image most of us have of Thoreau is that of a rather unkempt man uncomfortably swaddled in an ill-fitting suit and too-large bowtie casting a rather bored look from a clean-shaven face, whose neck is strangely shrouded in a thick bramble of hair. Thoreau’s wildly cultivated neckbeard was known to the barbers of the era as Galway Whiskers. It was a beard-style favored by the Amish, who rejected growing mustaches because of their association with the military, a hirsute protest the author of “Civil Disobedience” may also have found compelling. Yet the neckbeard we see Thoreau wearing in the famous daguerreotype from 1856 seems to have had a medical not political purpose, prescribed by the doctors of Concord as a “throat warming” measure to help stave off attacks of the consumption that would fill his lungs and still his wild heart six years later. (Why Nero favored a similar beard remains open for interpretation.) 

— Jeff St. Clair

* * *

HONG KONG HAS EXISTED since the reign of the mythical Yellow Emperor, when Chinese history began.

"It was a barren rock," the more tendentious historians say of Hong Kong, quoting Lord Palmerston, but for six thousand years Hong Kong was China, and Chinese people lived there. They were the ancestors of the villagers and fishing folk whom the British confronted when they used the Pearl River delta as an anchorage for their blockading gunboats and drug-running ships in the Opium Wars. This period is an amazing story, which starts with the craze for tea drinking in Britain in the eighteenth century. The tea was imported from China in such large quantities that it tilted the balance of trade, and Britain, having nothing to sell the Chinese, had to pay for the tea in silver. When Britain desperately tried to interest the Chinese in British woolens and trinkets, the emperor laughed and demanded silver and obedience. Meanwhile, the British had taken over the opium trade from the Portuguese, who had been selling opium to the Chinese for hundreds of years; the number of Chinese opium smokers had also increased markedly by the early nineteenth century. Britain, owning India, owned the largest supply of opium in the world, and with a monopoly of the drug business, solved the balance-of-trade problem by shipping tons of the stuff illegally on East India Company ships. Opium went up the Pearl River; it was smuggled through scores of coastal towns; it created a subculture of bribery in China. A chest of opium weighed 140 pounds. Shipments in the hundreds of chests in the late eighteenth century rose to thousands in the nineteenth. Between 1835 and 1839, many thousands of tons of opium went into China, demoralizing the country. India's largest export was the making of the Raj. It was China's ruin, a loss of money, prestige, and — with so many addicts — manpower.

The crisis occurred in the late 1830s, when the imperial commissioner in Canton confiscated twenty thousand chests of British opium and banned its importation and sale. The British exploded, howling that it was a violation of free trade (a new doctrine at the time), and sent gunboats to Canton to carry out a short, vicious war. The idea was not only to force the opium down Chinese throats, and get money for it, but also to humble imperial China and forcibly open its ports, allowing foreigners to sell goods to the enormous Chinese market. This has great resonance today. Britain's victory in the First Opium War meant the creation of treaty ports for trade, but it also allowed Britain to demand a large cash indemnity from China, as well as a trophy, the island of Hong Kong "in perpetuity." A strip of the mainland Kowloon coast was ceded in 1860.

Although the Chinese ceaselessly protested, the British opium trade remained unregulated until 1905, and opium production and sale continued in British colonies until World War Two. It is the most emotive single subject where Anglo-Chinese relations are concerned. China felt ganged up on by the industrial world at the time. There was an American connection, too, because Americans benefited by the creation of treaty ports. More recently, it was with great glee that China observed the drug taking by American soldiers during the Vietnam War; these addicts were seen and spoken about as a just retribution, gweilos brought low at last by Asian poppies. The humiliations by the British, the blockades, the siege and capture of Chinese, the forced sale of opium, have never been forgotten. Don't ask what's wrong with the Chinese; instead, ask American southerners why they still grizzle about the Civil War and fly the Confederate flag. Both defeats happened just as long ago.

— Paul Theroux, "Ghost Stories" (1997)

31 Comments

  1. Craig Stehr November 20, 2021

    Up early at The Earth First! Media Center in Garberville, California, fingering the large tulsi beads and witnessing the mental factory’s production of random discursive thinking. Earlier watched the stupidity of the evening news, which motivated me to spend the remainder of my life fingering the large tulsi beads and witnessing the mental factory’s production of random discursive thinking. At this point, all is well in regard to the digitizing of the Earth First! archival video footage and putting it in the cloud for safe keeping. Therefore, I could leave northern California and go elsewhere to continue intervening in history. I mean, what with the Antarctic ice sheets melting out, unless Divine Intervention happens real soon, planetary disasters are certain. So what do we have to lose?
    Feel free to contact me and set up my going to where you are, and then we destroy the forces of insanity once and for all, unless of course you are basically satisfied with your trip, and are giving a thumbs up to just about everything.
    I am accepting money to replenish the bank account, which is low after being supportive of the ongoing Earth First! archival preservation effort. But hey, I am never “thanking you in advance for your cooperation”. ?

    Craig Louis Stehr
    ?Paypal.me/craiglouisstehr
    Email: craiglouisstehr@gmail.com
    Telephone Messages: 213-842-3082
    November 20th, 2021

  2. George Hollister November 20, 2021

    by Matt Taibbi

    “Kyle Rittenhouse was found innocent”.

    The jury found Rittenhouse to be “not guilty”, but all defendants are innocent unless found guilty. Would someone explain that one to me.

    • Marmon November 20, 2021

      “Congratulations to Kyle Rittenhouse for being found INNOCENT of all charges. It’s called being found NOT GUILTY – And by the way, if that’s not self defense, nothing is!”

      -Donald J. Trump

      Marmon

    • Kirk Vodopals November 20, 2021

      Semantics… How do you plead? innocent? No, not guilty.

  3. Marmon November 20, 2021

    RE: FACT CHECKING TAIBBI

    “The context of the Rittenhouse shootings involved a summer of protests that began after the police killing of George Floyd, and continued in Kenosha after the death of Jacob Blake. ”

    Jacob Blake is still alive, but paralyzed from the waist down. The cops who shot him was found not guilty when body cam showed him reaching for a knife.

    Marmon

    • Harvey Reading November 20, 2021

      Pigs are generally found not guilty if they kill dark-skinned people. That’s why they feel free, or are ordered to, “target” them. Here in the backward state, their targets of preference are Native Americans.

      • chuck dunbar November 20, 2021

        Harvey, you are over the top again, using the term “pigs” to denote, as a blanket term, law enforcement officers. It’s unjust, undignified, and just plain not right to do so. Your posts at times are getting beyond any reason, and just make you look like a crazed, malicious old codger.

        • Harvey Reading November 20, 2021

          Whatever you say, Chuckles. Only don’t expect me to buy it. There have been far too many murders by pigs over the decades, complete with acquittals by juries for me to have any respect for them…fear, maybe…respect, no.

          My respect for police started downhill during the protests at Berkeley. The gas station where I worked was run by a Berkeley police reservist who loved to sit in his glassed-in “office” while fondling his new 9mm auto, which he could carry on “duty”, until they finally canned him.

          The station became a regular break area for those assigned to the protests. The pigs, yes, effen pigs, which included Berkeley cops, Highway Patrol, and occasional Alameda County deputies, used the station as a “break room” and would sit around telling racist stories and using derogatory racial terms if they saw a dark-skinned person walk by, and of course, they hated guys with long hair. Keep in mind that in those days, the Berkeley PD was considered top-of-the-line and progressive!

          During that time, I was approaching the intersection of Bancroft and College, which I needed to cross to get back to my dorm. As I was approaching, I could see two other guys, about my age, dressed “normally” already waiting to cross the intersection. A Berkeley pig drove up to them, and dropped a tear gas canister. They had done nothing at all. That is the work of a pig, whether you like the language or not.

          Fast forward 10 years. As a park ranger at Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area, the single most numerous category of people I cited for violations were off-duty LA pigs. They thought the place was their playground and that they were exempt from the rules. Some had to be threatened with jail if they didn’t sign the notice to appear. I was regularly told by the pigs to stay out of their town if I knew what was good for me. Pig behavior.

          Since that time it has become normal nooze to hear about pigs shooting down dark-skinned people and juries letting them off. And yet, you are concerned about language. You are the one “over the top”, over-the-top with condoning normal pig behavior. You are undignified and over-the-top in your acceptance of the status-quo. In short, you are a part of the problem.

          • chuck dunbar November 20, 2021

            Interesting and troubling examples of cop behavior, observed by you over time, Harvey. I can see why you have some animus about cops. You assume I agree with LE officers who break the law or commit injustices, but that’s not so. There are surely righteous issues out there about unjust shootings by LE officers, especially of people of color.

            But, I also have known some very fine LE officers in our little town here on the coast, as fine as any other folks in America, and doing a dangerous, hard job. For you to insult them–it’s not just language usage, it’s a personal insult and is grossly disrespectful–is wrong.

            But I don’t imagine anything I say will convince you otherwise. However, I’ve offered my thoughts twice on recent posts as honest feedback for you to consider. And I’ve done so with respect and do not make fun of you or mess with your given name. I can well imagine that most folks who read the AVA comments just skip over many of your posts as not worthy of their attention.

            Peace, Harvey.

            • Harvey Reading November 20, 2021

              Nope. I’m a realist. And pigs are out of control.

              And, it’s just gonna get worse as the country tightens its embrace of police-state fascism (judgement blurred by wars based on lies, “Thank you for your service” mouthings, and a flood of misinformation about almost any subject). The propaganda manufactured by our rulers has worked its magic. Everyone pretends it isn’t so, but the noose tightens…much as it did in Germany, not all that long ago. Humans are well-known for learning nothing from history and pretending that it does NOT just keep repeating itself. We are a species most noted for our gullibility and stupidity. So, keep on dreaming, loving your pigs, and reap your just reward!

              By the way, what people think of my comments is not a big issue with me. Remember, I’ve seen Mendo, and never, ever had any desire to live there.

              • Marmon November 20, 2021

                yeah, the pigs used to kick the shit out of me every chance they got, and I’m white.

                Marmon

                • Marmon November 20, 2021

                  RE: RENO’S MOTEL

                  Back in the day when the jail was on the 5th floor of the Courthouse in Ukiah, arresting officers and Jail Staff had what they called “elevator rides”. I was a frequent flyer. Those leaded leather gloves didn’t leave marks, but they sure did hurt. They would take you to the basement and then have a big party.

                  Marmon

            • Bruce McEwen November 20, 2021

              My Dear Dunbar,
              Your seemingly stolid conviction that a leopard can change its spots is almost anathema in these illustrious pages, where it is a collective dictum to the contrary, usually rendered mockingly in a series of jeers starting w/ “every day’s a new day… etc.”

              But there was a curious case up in Alaska, a curmudgeon like Reading who ran a camp for vagabond cons with the stamina to make it that far North. He looked like a dwarf from Lord of the Rings and, If memory serves, he was known as “The Largest Leprechaun In Captivity.” He had a great joke about the similarities between a man and a linoleum floor.*

              Reading, should he ever change his misanthropic opinions, will deserve a glass case in the Smithsonian.

              *The punch line was , “lay ’em right the first time, and you can walk all over ’em for years to come.” Get it?

  4. Marmon November 20, 2021

    RE: RITTENHOUSE BAIL MONEY

    There’s a big legal battle brewing over Kyle’s 2 million dollar bail and who gets it. The money was raised by several different sources. Kyle’s mon raised a quarter of million dollars by herself.

    Marmon

    • George Hollister November 20, 2021

      From another source I read Rittenhouse drove himself, and the gun was in Wisconsin before he arrived there. I am unaware if these details came out in court since they may have been immaterial to the prosecution’s case. At this point there are no credible media sources for anything involving this case. They have been making it up as they go along.

    • Bruce Anderson November 20, 2021

      I was wrong. Kyle Rittenhouse, an Illinois teen who has pleaded self-defense in fatally shooting two people and wounding another during a violent protest in Kenosha, Wis., went to the scene with a Wisconsin friend who had purchased the rifle for him.

      There is no evidence that Wendy Rittenhouse drove her son to Kenosha, and no evidence that her son was armed when he left their Illinois home for Kenosha.

    • Joe November 20, 2021

      I know the bail bondsman gets a chunk.

      • Marmon November 20, 2021

        MyPillow CEO Mike Lindel, and actor Ricky Schroder helped pay Kyle Rittenhouse’s $2M Bond through a fund set up by Attorney Lin Wood. Wood was the lead attorney in Nicholas Sandmann’s defamation suits against a number of media companies, including CNN and The Washington Post. There’s a good chance he will represent Kyle in his forthcoming defamation suits.

        Marmon

  5. Mike Kalantarian November 20, 2021

    Re: “Public input requested, $3.4M extension to NaphCare contract for Medical Health Services for your Jail”

    Asking some inmates what they think might be illuminating.

    • Ted Williams November 20, 2021

      there’s an idea.

    • Joe November 20, 2021

      If they knew what their problems were they most likely would not be in jail. If this is where we search for ideas I’m sure the money will be well spent.

      • Mike Kalantarian November 20, 2021

        Completely missing the point:

        1) This is not a search for ideas, we’re interested in evaluating the job contractor NaphCare has been doing. Who would know better than the customers?

        2) No money need be spent. One or more supervisors could simply visit the jail and ask around. An hour or two of their time.

        Here is the sort of thing they might hear: “When I first arrived here over three months ago I submitted a request to receive the first shot. I waited seven weeks to actually receive it, during which time there were several small outbreaks of covid here at the facility. I’m in the “at risk” category and once again I’m sitting here waiting two weeks now past the due date for the second shot.” (Edward Johnson)

        https://www.theava.com/archives/169725#6

        • Malcolm Macdonald November 20, 2021

          The NaphCare presentation lauded this statistic: 18% of inmates have received at least one Covid-19 vaccination.

          • Mark Scaramella November 20, 2021

            Yeah. I noticed that too. I wonder if it’s Naphcare’s fault or pubic health? The letter from the inmate said that the jail staff blamed it on public health. But if Naphcare is using it, it might well be theirs. Either way, it’s bad.

        • Joe November 20, 2021

          Maybe we could ask them how they feel about the food there while we are at it.

          • Bruce Anderson November 20, 2021

            Pretty good, actually, complete with fresh bread baked on the prmises.

  6. George Hollister November 20, 2021

    Mendosa’s Old Water Tower, Mendocino is Homer’s Market.

    • Jeff Fox November 20, 2021

      Yes, Homer Drinkwater’s store. I was going make that comment but you beat me to it. I don’t remember what year it closed, but I did visit it a few times in my younger days.

  7. Joe November 20, 2021

    So after years of the MSM lying 24/7 to us all about Russia gate, Rittenhouse, etc., in perfect unison, what else are they lying about? Why do people still trust them at all? The Globalists own it all.

  8. Nathan Duffy November 20, 2021

    Ah yes, the neckbeard, natures manly scarf.

  9. Jim Armstrong November 20, 2021

    Three guys in the street, one with a assault rifle illegally in his hands, the other two unarmed.
    The guy with the gun kills the other two and calls it self-defense.
    The judge wanted that outcome all along and got it.

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