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Mendocino County Today: Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021

Warm Clear | 62 Cases | 3 Deaths | Shepherd Hut | Cookie Exchange | Book Arts | Seatbelt Skeptics | Rental Issue | Weary Nurse | Ed Notes | Straight Theater | Arbery Prosecution | Police Reports | Special Meeting | Yesterday's Catch | Killing JFK | Old Hopland | Dickish Musk | Greed Tax | Pandemic Tools | Halloween Costumes | Stupid Selfish | 1918 Parade | SF Looting | Before Walmart | Military Buildup | Oligarchs Rule | Stockton Graveyard | Eel Crossing | Undermining Democracy | Dem Club | Ukiah Todds | Trail Hall | Palestinian Solidarity | Big Lie | Vidmag 15

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LESS COASTAL AND VALLEY CLOUDINESS is expected for the next few days, along with very warm inland daytime temperatures. Rain may return to the area by early next week. (NWS)

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62 NEW COVID CASES (since last Friday) and three more deaths reported in Mendocino County yesterday afternoon.

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Three Mendocino County residents recently passed away from COVID-19. Our thoughts are with all of their families and friends.

  • Death #95: 66 year-old woman from the Ukiah area; not vaccinated.
  • Death #96: 78 year-old woman from the Willits area; fully vaccinated with severe comorbidities.
  • Death #97: 76 year-old man from the Willits area; not vaccinated.

Public Health asks all Mendocino County residents to think about the ways they are protecting themselves and their families from COVID-19. When in doubt, consult with and follow all CDC and CDPH guidance. Vaccination, masking, and social distancing remain the best tools for combating COVID-19.

Fully vaccinated people over age 65 (or over age 50 with certain health conditions) should strongly consider getting a COVID-19 vaccine booster to improve immunity. If you have questions about boosters or vaccines in general, speak with your doctor, or call Public Health at 707-472-2759. To find the nearest vaccine clinic in your area, please visit the Public Health website at:

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Sheepherder's Cabin, Ukiah Valley, 1975

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Where did all the rain go? 

The good news: We won't get wet going to the Anderson Valley Unity Club meeting on Thursday, December 2nd at 1:30 in the Home Arts building at the Fairgrounds. The building houses our Lending Library. We will not be holding our Annual Holiday Bazaar this year. The Vendors are not quite ready to be in a confined space with a large group of people. We will be exchanging cookies as the Garden Section traditionally does for their December meeting. Please wrap your cookies individually. A list of ingredients will be appreciated. Always let folks know if there are peanuts or other nuts in your recipe. This should be fun. Stuck on what to get for the grandkids or Auntie Agnes? The Library has a lovely selection of gently used books for children and adults, ready to be wrapped up for Holiday gift-giving. The Lending Library is open on Tuesdays from 1 to 4 and on Saturdays from 12:30 to 2:30. Think about stocking up for the Winter, just in case it rains hard next year. I sure would like to see a “normal” rain year. In case we miss each other at the Cookie Exchange, I wish you a Merry Christmas, a Happy Chanukah, Lovely Kwanza and a Happy New Year. 

— Miriam L. Martinez

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BAM! — BOOK ARTS MENDOCINO! — is a series of exhibitions and displays, talks and readings, workshops and demonstrations devoted to the wide ranging and varied arts of the book. All events will take place on the coast in January and February 2022. Click this link for details:

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Below is from the Ukiah Daily Journal back in 2015, when people were already complaining about a lack of housing due to short term rentals.

“Mendocino County 4th District Supervisor Dan Gjerde said he has heard that as much as $1 million in potential Transient Occupancy Taxes that normally would have been collected within the county isn’t going to the government. ‘My understanding is the county is looking at it,’ Gjerde said.”

After “looking at it” the County still hasn’t addressed the housing problem created by the high number short term rentals. All they did was ensure that the County could profit off of them, too, by collecting a registration fee and taxes. Mr. Shields is right. It is the same method the Board uses for “solving” most our problems – “How can the County make money from this?” That is one of the reasons I lost respect for Supervisor Gjerde and did not vote for him in the last election.

We are lucky that the City of Fort Bragg did not have that same attitude and has banned short term rentals from most areas of the City. Too bad for Mendocino. People are still getting tossed out there so owners can convert homes to vacation rentals. But Mendocino residents don’t want to be associated with the lowly Fort Bragg who had the foresight to say no. And both coastal Supervisors know that the new boundary for the 4th District should have included Mendocino instead of reaching all the way over to Laytonville. It reminds me of Hopland being in the 5th District – ridiculous.

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[2] I am a bit offended by the housing survey that was done! As a person with 2 small houses in Fort Bragg, I told them that collaboration with people like me would better serve their purpose and I have heard nothing from them, big surprise!

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[3] I came here 23 years ago with over 20 years experience in social services, including management. I’m appalled at how issues like this are handled in this county, which are more than 30 years behind the times in many respects!

My house had a legal tourist permit from the city that I let go when I bought it. I consistently rented to low income residents, which generally was a mistake that cost me a bunch of money.

3 years ago I spent my inheritance to remodel and furnish it for locums, although I knew that given my videos and reporting on the hospital meetings made me an enemy of the old Edwards management, so that didn’t work out. So while people also complain there’s no housing for medical locums, it also has issues people don’t address in these committees.

While I am renting again to a local caregiver, I resent the City and County enacting rules and laws regarding my personal property without really caring about my input!

Given our fabulous Fort Bragg City Manager is leaving and watching the Supervisor meetings, I am not hopeful that any of these housing/short term rentals issues will ever be resolved.

Given that the County is dragging Laytonville and Spyrock into district 4, rather than sucking it up and including Mendocino in the district for obvious political reasons, I hold little hope for resolving any problems!

So, if anyone thinks a supervisor or county housing committee is going to solve anything is a joke in my book. This small county is over 30 years behind times, especially in social services and mental health in my experience, while not listening to real people!

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“HE WHO WOULD KEEP A SECRET must keep it a secret that he has a secret to keep,” hence nobody who knows for a slam dunk fact if the Kennedy Assassination was a conspiracy has come forward. I think the suspiciously delayed release of the rest of the Kennedy papers probably confirms that Oswald was employed, at different times, by both the CIA and the FBI. My late comrade, Cockburn, thought there was no conspiracy, that Oswald was a small 'c' communist whose attempt to knock off General Walker, his affiliation with the Fair Play For Cuba Committee, his sojourn in Russia, and his assassination of Kennedy were inspired by genuine left sympathies. Maybe. Oswald grew up hard, and he was an intellectual of sorts whose experience could have made him a proto-Marxist, but I'm more inclined to believe what he said he was, a “dupe” in a larger scheme.

SPEAKING OF CONSPIRACIES, we do have an ongoing conspiracy right here on the Northcoast involving the FBI, former supervisor McCowen, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, the county's former trash czar Mike Sweeney (now a resident of New Zealand), Darryl Cherney, and miscellaneous cretins who manage to think there was nothing suspicious about the FBI managing to exclude Bari's ex-husband from the suspect pool of likely car bombers. Because the Press Democrat managed to “lose” the only tangible piece of physical evidence we know of (the Lord's Avenger confession letter), and the FBI closed the case, I guess we can conclude that Mike Sweeney committed the perfect imperfect crime. Anyway, I was pleased to see that more than 300 honest citizens have viewed Steve Talbot's excellent film on the ava's youtube website, Talbot's film being the best, most concise explanation of what truly happened. Cherney lifted parts of Talbot's film for his own hagiographic mess, also called “Who Bombed Judi Bari,” and gosh, I wonder why Cherney would go to all the trouble? To keep his lyin' ass out of federal prison? Odd thing is although some 300 people have watched Talbot's film no one has commented. The Bari case, as you must know, cannot be discussed on KZYX or, as the station unironically calls itself, “Free Speech Radio.” 

RE DOUG STONE, the latter-day Black Bart burglar and home invader of Redwood Valley's Black Bart Trail, Joan Vivaldo, whose home was invaded by Stone, writes: “In October 2021, the oft postponed Preliminary Examination (PX) for Douglas Stone was set for 11/23/2021, a date the Defense Investigator opined was a poor choice since it was Thanksgiving week, and unlikely that all the law enforcement officers scheduled to testify would be available. For the first time during this process of multiple postponements, Victims' Assistance called me the day before the scheduled PX to say that the PX would be RESCHEDULED on 11/23/2021. Today, In a quick step backward, the Mendo Courthouse on-line calendar shows 9 am 12/7/2021 as the date for the SETTING of the PX.”

TYPICAL FUNCTIONING of the Mendo court system which, as we know from long first hand experience, has itself as its first and only priority, as this constant re-scheduling of Stone's case again establishes. The judge can't set time and date a month in advance and order everyone involved to be there or do a day or two in jail for contempt? As George Carlin often said to the effect, “It's all a big club and you ain't in it.” 

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THE MOST EFFECTIVE WAY TO ACHIEVE RACIAL JUSTICE can sometimes be to downplay race.

That may seem like a counterintuitive idea. And it can certainly feel unsatisfying to people who are committed to reducing the toll of racism in the United States. But it is one of the lessons of the murder convictions last week of three white men in Georgia, in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man.

I want to revisit the case this morning, because it has a broader relevance to American politics.

By now, you’re probably familiar with the basic facts. Arbery was in a predominantly white neighborhood near his home in coastal Georgia on Feb. 23, 2020, when three men in pickup trucks chased and shot him.

Racism played a clear role in the killing. One of the defendants used a slur shortly after the shooting, according to another defendant. All three had a history of sending online messages tinged with white nationalism.

Nonetheless, the prosecutor in the case, Linda Dunikoski, decided mostly to ignore race during the trial. She accused the defendants of having a racist motive only once, in a single line of her closing argument. She instead portrayed them as lawless figures who killed a young man.

Before the verdicts, some observers criticized the strategy, saying that Dunikoski was weakening her case by ignoring the defendants’ motive. “There were a lot of people who thought that it should have been very central to her argument,” said The Times’s Richard Fausset, who covered the killing and the trial. One law professor accused Dunikoski of “whitewashing” the facts. Another professor said that her strategy would be blamed if the defendants were acquitted.

No doubt, it would have been. Dunikoski was deliberately leaving out a big part of the story. But she was doing so for a reason. (Or so it seems; she has not publicly discussed her strategy.) She evidently believed that emphasizing race would be a gift to the defense.

It could cause the jurors — all but one of whom were white — to retreat to their ideological corners. Conservative jurors would be reminded that they often disagree with allegations of racism. Many political moderates disagree sometimes, too, especially if they’re white. On the other hand, any jurors likely to be appalled by the racial nature of the case — three white men killing a Black man in broad daylight — would recognize the role of race without needing to be told about it.

The anti-Bannon strategy

It was a miniature version of a tension that runs through American politics.

Progressive activists often point out — accurately — the central role that race and racism play in the U.S. Polls show, for example, that a large percentage of Americans feel racial animus. That animus helped fuel Donald Trump’s political rise, starting with his promotion of the lie that Barack Obama was born in Africa. And racial discrimination continues to shape our economy, schools, criminal justice system and more.

Yet when activists try to combat racism by calling it out, they often struggle to accomplish their goals. Focusing on Trump’s racist behavior did not keep him from winning the presidency. The Black Lives Matter movement has mostly failed to implement its policy agenda on policing. Affirmative-action programs generally lose when they appear on the ballot — including a landslide loss in California last year, helped by opposition from many Latino and Asian voters.

Race-based strategies are especially challenging in a country where living standards have stagnated in recent decades: Working-class families of all races have reason to distrust the notion that they enjoy a privileged lifestyle. No wonder that Steve Bannon, the far-right political figure, once said that he wanted liberals “to talk about racism every day.” When they do, Bannon said, “I got ’em.”

‘Attack the design’

The Arbery trial offers a reminder that calling out racism is not the only way to battle it. Sometimes, a more effective approach involves appealing to universal notions of fairness and justice.

Another example is child poverty. Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey was an early advocate of baby bonds — universal savings accounts for children, an idea that helped shape President Biden’s focus on reducing child poverty. The beauty of the policy, Booker told me, is that it substantially reduces racial gaps in child poverty (because children of color are more likely to be poor) while still being inclusive.

“It’s very hard to undo centuries of racial policies by suddenly saying, ‘I’m now going to not be conscious of race in America,’” he said. But, he added, “This is a policy that I think can be embraced by you, whoever you are, whatever your background.”

Representative James Clyburn, the highest ranking Black Democrat in Congress, made a similar argument when explaining why he favored a version of slavery reparations that would also help poor white families. “Race is the reason income is what it is,” he told The Washington Post. “This is by design. So attack the design.”

The downside of this approach is clear enough. Given the long history of intense racism in the U.S., universal programs will never fully solve the problem. Of course, policies that fail to get enacted accomplish much less.

Dunikoski’s trial strategy may have felt uncomfortable to anybody repulsed by the defendants’ racism. But imagine how uncomfortable an acquittal would have felt.

Arbery’s family members, notably, were not among Dunikoski’s critics, as Richard Fausset has reported. Even before the verdict, the family liked the prosecution’s approach.

(David Leonhardt)

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On Friday, November 26, 2021 at about 12:50 AM Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies were dispatched to a possible domestic violence incident in the 25000 block of Madrone Drive in Willits.

Deputies arrived and contacted an adult female and a witness to the incident at the location.

Deputies learned John Knight, 37, of Willits, had been in a relationship with the adult female and they had children in common.

John Knight

Deputies learned Knight came to the location and banged on the garage door and then the front door. When the adult female attempted to talk to Knight, he grabbed her by the neck and began to strangle her, making it difficult for her to breath. Knight then forced his way into the residence, knocking the adult female onto the couch before she struck Knight a couple times to get him to stop.

The witness called 9-1-1 and Knight left the location.

While the Deputies were at the location Knight was seen in a Honda on a road behind the location. Deputies were able to stop Knight and detain him while they completed their investigation.

The adult female was found to have visible marks on her body, reportedly associated with the incident.

Deputies found Knight to be on county parole (PRCS- Post Release Community Supervision) with numerous terms.

Knight was arrested for domestic violence battery and violation of PRCS and was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $25,000 bail.


On Thursday, November 25, 2021 at about 8:26 AM Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies were dispatched to contact an adult male regarding an assault that occurred earlier in the day in the 1300 block of Casteel Drive in Willits.

The adult male reported that earlier in the morning he was out in front of his residence when he was confronted by Christopher Cochran, 41, of Willits. 

Christopher Cochran

An argument ensued between the pair and Cochran picked up a large softball sized rock and threw it at the adult male striking him in the back causing pain and injury.

On 11-25-2021 at about 2:13 PM Deputies located Cochran in the 30000 block of Metzler Ridge Road in Willits.

Cochran was arrested for Assault With A Deadly Weapon other than Firearm and booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $32,500 bail.

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BOARD OF SUPERVISORS SPECIAL MEETING Agenda Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Post Date: 11/29/2021 8:56 AM

Community Partners, Colleagues, and Interested Parties:

The Board of Supervisors Special Meeting Agenda for the Tuesday, November 30, 2021 meeting, has been published and is now available on the County website:

Please contact Clerk of the Board at (707) 463-4441 if you have any questions regarding this message.

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A BOS special meeting Tuesday, 11/30/21 with one closed-session item: Pursuant to Government Code Section 54956.9(d)(1) - Conference with Legal Counsel - Existing Litigation: One Case - CPUC Proceeding # R20-09-001 (which appears to be concerning a Broadband matter)

(via Kathy Wylie)

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CATCH OF THE DAY, November 27, 2021

Davidson, Jordan, Mora, Smith

JESSE DAVIDSON, Covelo. Domestic battery, assault with deadly weapon not a gun, willfully harming police animal with serious injury, criminal threats, resisting, probation revocation.

DUSTIN JORDAN, Willits. County parole violation.

PABLO MORA, Ukiah. Parole violation. (Frequent flyer.)

JOSHUA SMITH, Laytonville. Shooting at inhabited dwelling or vehicle, probation revocation.

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Oliver Stone buys into the fascist fantasy that Kennedy was a father-leader-hero.

by Alexander Cockburn (1991)

Whether John F. Kennedy was killed by a lone assassin or by a conspiracy has about as much to do with the subsequent contours of American politics as if he had tripped over one of Caroline’s dolls and broken his neck in the White House nursery.

Many people think otherwise, reckoning that if it can be demonstrated that the Warren Commission was wrong and Oswald not the lone killer, then we are faced with the reality of a rightist conspiracy successfully engineered to change the course of history.

Among them is Oliver Stone, who definitely adopts the view that a right-wing conspiracy came to fruition on Nov. 22, 1963. He sets forth the motive of the conspirators thus: “Kennedy was moving to end the Cold War and sign a nuclear treaty with the Soviets; he would not have gone to war in Southeast Asia. He was starting a back-door negotiation with Castro.” And therefore there was “the first coup d’etat in America.”

In “JFK,” Stone leaves no doubt about the coup’s sponsors. A sequence in grainy black-and-white news film, presumably designed for extra verite, shows L.B.J. coordinating plans for the assassination with the Joint Chiefs of Staff. So Stone has really made a $40-million equivalent of Barbara Garson’s 1960s satire, “MacBird,” though Stone’s model is a different Shakespeare play.

As the Jim Garrison character says in the movie: “We have all become Hamlets in our country, children of a slain father-leader whose killers still possess the throne. The ghost of John Kennedy confronts us with the secret murder at the heart of the American dream.”

In its fascist yearning for the “father-leader” taken from the “children-people” by conspiracy, this speech accurately catches the crippling nuttiness of what passes in many radical circles for mature analysis and propaganda: that virtue in government died at Dallas and that, ever since, a “secret agenda” has perverted the national destiny.

With this demented optic, left ultimately joins hands with right. Just as the right-wing populists and Birchers see a secret conspiracy--Bilderberg, the Trilateral Commission, the Freemasons, the bankers, the Jews--at the heart of the state’s proceedings, so too do many on what passes for the left, though the ascribed nature of the conspirators sometimes differs. The assassination of J.F.K. powerfully fueled this tendency. Many are the meetings I’ve addressed on the open secrets and agenda of American capitalism in our time, only to be lectured from the floor about the impossibility of an authentic politics emerging in America until the conspiracy at Dallas is revealed. Stone is tapping into a mother lode of historical paranoia.

“Get a life,” Captain Kirk once told some Trekkies. Get some history, too. Tom Wicker fretted in the New York Times that “in an era when mistrust of government and loss of confidence in institutions (the press not least) are widespread and virulent, such a suggestion (that representatives of the ruling elites murdered J.F.K.) seems a dubious public service.” In fact, the dubious public service is to suggest that J.F.K. himself was not a functional representative of those elites.

The real J.F.K. presided over a vast military buildup, backed a military coup in Guatemala, denied the Dominican Republic the possibility of land reform, helped promote a devastating cycle of Latin American history and backed a Ba’athist coup in Iraq. J.F.K. presided over Operation Mongoose, inflicting terror upon Cuba. Even as bullets brought J.F.K.’s life to its conclusion in Dallas, a CIA officer operating firmly within the bounds of J.F.K.’s policy was handing poison intended to assassinate Fidel Castro to a Cuban agent in Paris.

Lawrence J. Bassett and Stephen Pelz wrote in the 1989 collection, “Kennedy’s Quest for Victory,” that “by putting American advisers in harm’s way … he helped to engage American patriotism in a war against the Vietnamese people. By arguing that Vietnam was a test of the West’s ability … and a test of American credibility in the Cold War, he raised the costs of withdrawal for his successor.”

J.F.K. sent in 16,000 advisers, sponsored the “strategic hamlet” program, launched napalm and defoliation upon the South and covert terror and sabotage upon the North. He never entertained the possibility of a negotiated settlement.

Thomas Paterson, the editor of this same volume, put it well. History forces us to “reckon with a past that has not always matched the selfless and self-satisfying images Americans have of their foreign policy and of Kennedy as their young, fallen hero who never had a chance. Actually, he had his chance, and he failed.”

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Old Hopland

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by Linsey McGoey

Elon Musk is a dick. At least, that’s the image the Tesla and SpaceX CEO likes to project on Twitter. His profile picture is a photo of a rocket, elongated and cylindrical, silhouetted against the sky. It’s a nod to his work with SpaceX, but it’s also clearly a penis. It’s a sly wink at his stans, the fanbase who make up the core of his 64 million Twitter followers.

Musk is a master at publicity, and the image is a provocation, to encourage more admirers or haters to pour into his timeline. Rich men – and no one is currently richer than Musk – still flaunt their wealth with overpowered cars or yachts, but they also now have Twitter, and we have to decide how to respond to Musk’s vanity rocket thrusting into our feeds whenever he says something clever, mean, childish or self-serving, which is every day.

One response would be to ignore him, but since his entitlements come at the public’s expense, with his companies gobbling up ever more government subsidies and tax breaks, we can’t just pretend he doesn’t exist. And his dickish online persona is a useful lens for examining larger myths about wealth in our time.

On November 6, Musk put a poll on Twitter: “Much is made lately of unrealized gains being a means of tax avoidance, so I propose selling 10% of my Tesla stock. Do you support this?” When 58% of respondents said “yes,” he proceeded to sell some of his stock. The gesture appeared democratic, an act of civic duty, even magnanimity, in response to the urging of his “people.”

But that isn’t the full story. In 2012, Musk was awarded Tesla stock options: 22.8 million shares at $6.24 apiece. They’re now worth nearly 200 times that, and they expire in August 2022. He has to exercise them before that or lose the chance to earn billions. And “earn” is the imperative word. This is income for Musk. He needs to pay income tax on it, like anyone taking an income, something he and other CEOs chaff at. When he posted his poll on Twitter, the share price was $1222.09. Exercising the options will net Musk around $27 billion.

“Musk would have to pay full income tax on the massive gain in the shares’ value,” Reuters reported, “but could sell some without additional capital gains taxes.” And Tesla would be able to claim a $5 billion tax deduction for the share transfer to Musk – a loophole that President Biden’s infrastructure bill could close. “Musk gets the last laugh when Tesla takes a large deduction,” a tax lawyer told Reuters, “which they may not get to take next year.”

The $27 billion would be taxed at the top federal rate of 37%, plus a 3.8% net investment tax. And because he earned the stock while living in California, before a recent tax-reducing move to Texas, he also faces state tax of 13.3%. In total, as CNBC’s Robert Frank has calculated, the bill could top $15 billion. While the figure is enormous, it represents only 5% of his estimated net worth of close to $300 billion.

How do billionaires avoid income tax? The easiest way is a tactic that, interestingly, is never veiled but rather broadcast as if it were a superhuman feat of ascetism: not being paid a salary. “Note, I do not take a cash salary or bonus from anywhere,” Musk told his Twitter followers. “I only have stock, thus the only way for me to pay taxes personally is to sell stock.”

In the first sentence, Musk appears to be seeking our admiration for his forbearance in not taking a “cash salary”; yet the second sentence implies the situation has been imposed on him. Still, he’s determined to prevail over the barriers erected against him: the “only way” to pay tax is this way, so watch and applaud.

He acts as if compensation in stock rather than a cash salary weren’t a deliberate choice made by him and other CEOs for a host of reputational and financial advantages. First, there are the perceptual gains: not taking a salary looks noble (see the first sentence of Musk’s tweet). It’s a mirage of selflessness, but it still looks selfless.

CEOs have been doing it for decades, but it has ramped up since the 1980s when sky-rocketing salaries began to worry governance boards. By switching to compensation in stock options rather than cash, everyone looks as though they’re putting the company first.

The personal bonus for CEOs is that they get to avoid both income tax and capital gains tax on shares that are not yet cashed in. They still have to live, of course, but they manage very nicely on credit from banks, collateralized with their stock options, paying interest at minuscule levels of around 3 or 4%, way below the top US federal income tax rate of 37%.

Politicians like Bernie Sanders have long called this out for what it is: a scam. “We must demand that the extremely wealthy pay their fair share. Period,” Sanders tweeted on November 13. “I keep forgetting that you’re still alive,” Musk retorted. Was it funny? Musk’s followers thought so. Was it a dick thing to say? Look at his profile picture.

A few hours later, Musk whined that Sanders is a “taker, not a maker,” delighting the hard-right libertarians who love it when billionaires attack governments. Which is something that Musk does a lot, but he needs the US government too, not least to further his own wealth. For one thing, SpaceX and Tesla have both benefited from government subsidies. But there’s more to it than that. “We will coup whoever we want!” Musk tweeted and deleted in 2020. “Deal with it.”

He was responding to criticism of US involvement in the 2019 overthrow of Evo Morales’s government in Bolivia, a country with major reserves of lithium, which is used in the batteries of smartphones and electric cars. After a right-wing, US-backed government assumed office (later jettisoned at the ballot box), Tesla’s stock soared.

Musk is happy when the government protects his interests, bitter when it claims a share of the revenue. “Eventually, they run out of other people’s money and then they come for you,” he exploded angrily on Twitter a few weeks ago, condemning a new US proposal to tax the unrealised stock options that Musk and other CEOs use to collateralise their lavish lifestyles.

That’s the curious thing about Musk’s attitude to government power. Coup other people for his benefit? Hell yeah! But tax him? Not fair! In truth he’s neither all-powerful nor a helpless victim. He’s just a very wealthy guy who resents being held to the same standard as regular people. To turn his own words back on him, he hates being reminded that he too is still alive.

(London Review of Books)

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Dear Editor,

As a result of the emergence of the latest Covid variant on Friday, nervous investors bolted. This latest variant, dubbed Omicron, spooked not just Wall Street’s high rollers, it spread to Europe, to the US, Australia and Hong Kong.

Scary as it absolutely is, partly since it attacks the very young faster than other variants do, its emergence proves beyond a shadow of a doubt the extremely dangerous nature of the Covid pandemic. It suddenly came out of South Africa. We need to take even more note of what the reality is that we face.

The US, and other rich nations, need to produce more and distribute a lot more vaccines throughout the entire world. No one will really be safe, vaccinated or not, unless and until at least 70% of the entire world has been vaccinated. Moreover, the vaccines alone cannot achieve the end of the pandemic. We also need to have effective monoclonal antibody meds. Unless we use every tool we can develop, we will have the Covid pandemic ghoul around killing and maiming for decades to come.

Frank Baumgardner

Santa Rosa

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Halloween, Ukiah, 1948

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Q: WHY CAN'T PRO-VACCINE PEOPLE just get over the fact that millions of us do not want or cannot take the vaccine? 

Here's how Alex Denethorn replied to the question on

Simple: if it only impacted you, we’d be fine with it. Unfortunately, it does not. We have multiple issues as a consequence:

A virus that is mutating to far-more dangerous variants as a consequence of high infection rates. This increases the risk that we end up with a mutation against which the vaccine would not be as effective, putting us at square one again, but even more at risk, because the new variants we’ve seen thus far are proving to be even more virulent than the original. There are segments of the population (small, I grant you, but there nonetheless) who cannot be vaccinated due to legitimate medical issues. Those who are voluntarily unvaccinated are endangering their lives.

Rather a big one: the unvaccinated that end up requiring hospitalisation are eating up resources, hospital beds and emergency rooms that are needed by those struggling with other issues. Yes, being vaccinated protects me against Covid-19, but if I get hit by a car, and there’s no beds in the ER due to unvaccinated Covid patients, I’m likely going to die because of you even though I don’t have Covid.

And, of course, as long as the virus remains active and dangerous within the population, we have to keep employing protective measures to safeguard you, which means the economy can’t return in full measure, we have to consider wearing masks and remain socially-distanced, and foreign travel is limited and conditional upon expensive tests on both ends.

In other words if it were just you being impacted, I’d say fine. Don’t get vaccinated, and feel free to be self-righteous about that right up until the point that someone shoves you on a ventilator and starts the countdown on your life. That’s “freedom” in your book, no?

Unfortunately, the selfishness of the unvaccinated is costing time, money and lives even among the vaccinated, so you’re part of a huge problem. And the funny part? There’s no reasonable justification for it. All the noise about “the government can’t make me!” or “We don’t know what’s in it!” is just a load of nonsense, designed to make you feel better about an idiotic decision.

And, again, that’d be fine if it impacted only you. Sadly, it doesn’t, and others will pay the price for the stupidity and selfishness involved.


(via Nick Wilson)

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WW1 Thrift Stamp Parade, Ukiah, 1918

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by CW Nevius

San Francisco is having a moment.

Just not the kind you want.

The viral videos keep rolling in. It started with the bicycling shoplifter at Walgreen’s, loading up his bag and rolling blissfully out the door while everyone stood aside and watched him go.

That clip was played on the national networks a thousand times (and probably two thousand on Fox News). Now we have what I suppose is the logical outgrowth of the they’re-not-going-to-do-anything-if-we-walk-in-and-take-stuff mentality — mobs doing smash and grabs.

The recent, shocking videos of the Union Square looting have been on constant replay on network TV. And it is more than a little disconcerting to see talking heads on the East Coast telling us, confidently and authoritatively, what our problems are.

The book “San Fransicko” has been getting some play, pointing (or giving) the finger to the city. Dour columnist George Will, among others, was moved to weigh in on the troubles here after scanning the book.

You can guess what most of them think. After all, the subtitle of “San Fransicko” is “Why Progressives Ruin Cities.” Too soft on crime. The progressive District Attorney Chesa Boudin, refuses to put criminals in jail.

“What do you expect?” they say. “It’s San Francisco.”

And there’s something to that, but the city’s problems go deeper than rampant shoplifting. We will get to that.

But first, let’s not underestimate what the Nov. 19 looting means to San Francisco.

Union Square was already becoming Plywood Square. The Gap, H&M, Marshall’s, Uniglo and DSW have all closed. And not until the pandemic is over. They are shut for good.

How do you think the other, high-end businesses are going to react when their store is ransacked by looters? Or if they see the videos of it happening?

Right now, many of them are paying $1,000 a day for an armed guard at the door. Did you ever think that would happen in one of the most exclusive shopping districts in the world?

Shopping at Union Square is a huge draw for tourists. What would it mean to the number one driver of the local economy — tourism — if the stores cleared out?

Think about that while the videos keep coming. The sight of looters, running out of broken glass doors, arms full of swag, have become commonplace.

It turns out that the business of theft pays pretty well. In fact, police officers say they are seeing something new in the illegal drug market — a career change.

Dealing drugs is an inherently dangerous way to make money. You get your product from someone who could be paranoid and violent. And you sell to clients who are often unstable and unpredictable.

Far better, it appears, to steal stuff, particularly electronics, which can be converted to cash almost instantly. So some of the dealers are changing occupations — from dealing to stealing.

In California it makes sense because of Prop 47, which was passed in 2014.

Many people have attempted to explain to me why Prop 47 does not encourage theft and crime, but I’ve never been convinced.

The idea, as you probably remember, is that anyone caught with stolen property with a value of less than $950 is charged with a misdemeanor, not a felony.

The idea was to fix the “three strikes” law. The problem was someone’s third strike might be shoplifting a toothbrush, and that would still send them to prison.

At least some of the supporters of Prop 47 were under the impression that the crimes of repeat offenders could be bundled together. So if caught multiple times, the value of the stolen property would be more than $950 and the criminal could be charged with a felony.

But the way the proposition is written, each offense has been treated separately.

“So,” a former high-ranking police officer said this week, “you could literally get caught stealing $949 worth of stuff a day and it never becomes a felony.”

Boudin, by the way, is doing the right thing with the looters.

“Stand by for felony charges,” he tweeted the night the break-ins happened.

On Nov. 23 he followed through, announcing he was filing felony charges against nine accused Union Square looters. If convicted, they will face significant jail time, which would not be true with misdemeanor charges.

“These are not petty thefts,” Boudin said at a news conference. This is not misdemeanor conduct. This is felony conduct.”

And since the attacks were clearly carefully planned, Boudin may also charge them with “conspiracy,” also a felony.

This brings up another problem that is likely to contribute to a rise in property crime.

In an attempt to reduce prison overcrowding, California enacted AB 109 in 2011. The idea was to take non-violent, lower-level offenders out of the prison system and into local county jails or probation.

But the result has been drastically shorter incarceration terms. Where a serious misdemeanor conviction before AB 109 might have resulted in a year of confinement (which usually worked out to six months or less), now offenders may only serve what is called a “flash incarceration” of 10 days.

San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott has often talked about career criminals: “This is their job,” Scott says. And he also often points out that when serial thieves are taken off the street for a period of time, the downtick in crime is noticeable.

Typically, a misdemeanor conviction and short stay in county jail will hardly make a dent in street crime. The Public Policy Institute of California found in 2015 that AB 109 led to reduced jail time and some increase in property crime.

Boudin often talks about keeping people out of jail or prison. That you can’t reform someone behind bars.

It’s a noble thought. But when you have an offender getting arrested and convicted over and over, but serving almost no jail time, you’ve got a recipe for social disorder.

Because we know those chilling videos from Union Square are only part of the story. People in San Francisco know that property crime is a real and serious problem.

And watching those clips, it is easy to imagine that we were seeing a rip in civil society. That this is a city utterly out of control.

This is “last straw” stuff, where businesses, tourists and residents say they are done, finished with San Francisco.

That can’t happen.

This is a new phase. We need to take these property crimes, and the laws that abet them, seriously.

Right now we have everyone’s attention.

So what are we going to do?

* * *

Breaking Ground, Walmart, Ukiah, 1993

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Why did Russia deploy so many forces against NATO?

"The truth is that the Empire has been preparing a war against Russia since at least the mid 90s and that these preparations dramatically accelerated in the past seven years.”

* * *

ONLINE QUOTE: “The US is ungovernable and is immersed in the internal life-and-death struggle between several oligarchic clans that do not give a rat's ass about the well-being of the majority of Americans, most of whom are just decent folks who want to live their lives, and about a once beautiful country that was the envy of the world.”

— Andrei Martyanov

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* * *

Eel River near Scotia, 1907

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I happened upon a book that explains some of the incomprehensible events happening around us and want to share it. The book is “Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America” by historian Nancy MacLean. It explains in a readable text the effort started 70 years ago to restrict democracy so that it doesn’t interfere with capitalism. This is behind the scenes planning to reduce voting and activism so market forces can control daily life.

I urge people to read it and learn that self-interested political figures now telling us that government is ineffective in improving the public’s life are the ones promoting that false line for the benefit of their economic class. If we don’t understand the forces undermining democracy, we risk losing it. Please read this book, learn and share it with others.

Anne Seeley

Santa Rosa

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MAKING SURE NOTHING CAN OR WILL EVER CHANGE: Presenting The Democrats Of Mendocino County

Join A Coast Democratic Club Working Group

From: "Coast Democrats" <>


Coast Dems

Elections 2022

At our November 4 Club meeting we reviewed upcoming local elections and took a preliminary poll of interest in these races.

December Club Action:

In lieu of a general December Club meeting, the Leadership Team and Club members will be gathering information on issues related to local elections of interest and working to identify candidates for office, as appropriate.

Join An Elections Working Group

June 7, Primary Election

Mendocino County Superintendent of Schools

Contact Susan Savage: 

Mendocino Healthcare District Board (3 seats)

Contact Karen Bowers: 

Mendocino County Sheriff

Contact Lee Finney: 

Supervisor District 5, Ted Williams

Contact Karen Bowers: 

November 8, 2022, General Election

Fort Bragg City Council (4 seats)

If you are not already signed up with City Council Group (CCG),

Contact Jane Person: 

Hold the House/Hold the Senate

Club Activities will be discussed at January 6, 2022 Meeting

* * *

John and Mary Todd, Ukiah, 1880s

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It's Tomorrow! Great Redwood Trail Town Hall

From: "" 

Dear Constituent,

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and holiday weekend!

Now that we’re getting back into the swing of things, I wanted to do a quick check-in and make sure you'll be able to join us for Tuesday’s Great Redwood Trail Town Hall.

The Trail, when completed, will stretch 320 miles on a mostly dilapidated former rail line from the bustling shores of the San Francisco Bay to the crisp and clear waters of Humboldt Bay. The Trail will traverse through and near some of the most spectacular landscapes on earth including ancient Redwoods, state and National Parks, golden oak-studded hills, lush vineyards and along the shores of the Eel and Russian Rivers.

While several Great Redwood Trail segments have already been built or are on the cusp of being built in and around communities in Mendocino, Humboldt, Sonoma and Marin Counties - hundreds of miles in rural and backcountry regions still must be planned out.

That’s why we hope you can join us TOMORROW (Tuesday) November 30 at 6:30 pm for our Great Redwood Trail Town Hall focused on kicking off the Trail’s Master Plan in early 2022!

Here are the meeting details:

What: Join Senator McGuire for a Town Hall Focused on the Great Redwood Trail Master Plan.

When: TUESDAY, November 30 at 6:30 pm

How to attend: RSVP today by clicking here! After you RSVP, we’ll email the call-in number and video livestream link.

The meeting on November 30 will provide details on the master plan that will address trail construction and alignment, timeline for buildout, governance, environmental, along with wildfire prevention and security measures. Of course, the community will be front and center the entire way!

We look forward to talking with you!

Warm regards,

Mike McGuire, Senator

* * *

* * *

FOR THE RIGHT IN THE US TODAY, Hitler’s “Jewish bankers” and “Jewish Bolsheviks” have morphed into “Marxists” collaborating with and protecting a “left wing” big business elite. This is what passes for original thought on the Right today. It is pure demagogy! But it can work on a population that is kept ignorant of how capitalism actually functions. These people can see the deterioration in their lives and are looking for those responsible. The Right gives them both a vague power elite that they characterize for their petit-bourgeois followers (including unorganized predominantly rural white workers) as “the Left:” “Communist Democrats” (Trump’s absurd words) working for big business while mainly serving racial minorities but opposed to “ordinary Americans.” It’s the Brooklyn Bridge!

What is being relied upon here is what Hitler pioneered: the enabling of the big lie technique through control of media and continuing institutional protection for fascist activities that include assaulting and murdering anti-racist, anti-fascist protesters.

This new, uncompromisingly hostile Right, characterizes social media and the universities as captives of “the Left.” In a crowning case of big lie reversal (or projection), it is “the Left” that threatens to eliminate “conservatives,” not the other way around. Republicans have been attacking the “left wing media” now for decades, successfully. This is part of their program to push the American population further to the right by undermining potential or actual sources of information that might contradict the Right’s line or expose their lies, and thus amp up their “cancel culture” war against free and open communication. This is mordantly ironic, since the vast majority of today’s mass media is owned by a tiny handful of giant corporations that could hardly be further from left wing. Furthermore, universities may have more left-wing faculty than right wingers. They are still run by conservative Boards of Regents staffed by powerful capitalists, with administrations that do their bidding. 

— Chuck Churchill

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  1. John Sakowicz November 30, 2021

    Mike Sweeney has always bothered me.

    The Lord’s Avenger letter described the bomb in detail, containing an odd use of capitalization was consistent with Sweeney’s use of capital letters. Additionally, Sweeney built replicas of the two bombs for Bari to use as props; therefore, he could have built them originally.

    Sweeney knew how to build bombs…his bombs blew up one of the two hangers at the old Navy air strip in Santa Rosa in 1980, and, a month before the 1990 blast in Oakland, Sweeney tried to bomb Louisiana Pacific’s offices just south of Cloverdale.

    Also, his DNA was withheld from analysis.

    Why would Sweeney want to kill Bari? Because she privately accused him of spousal abuse and child molestation — both — and Sweeney may have feared Bari would file formal complaints.

    What really disturbs me is that I think Sweeney was an FBI informant. He was basically ignored by law enforcement. Why? Someone covered for him. Then Sweeney went on to live a charmed life as the county’s garbage czar. How did all the pieces fall magically into place? I wonder.

    Finally, don’t expect KZYX to brook any open and honest discussion about Bari-Sweeney anytime soon. Alicia Littletree Bales, a Bari acolyte, is the #2 head honcho at the station.

    Better to keep the myth sanitized. Revisionist history tidy ups messy history, and history is almost always messy.

    In any case, Sweeney now lives in New Zealand.

    • Bruce Anderson November 30, 2021

      Sweeney the Kiwi is a lot of things, beginning with murderous psychopath, but I never believed Judi Bari when she trotted out the rape and beating allegations. She always said whatever advanced herself at the moment, making her at least half a psychopath herself. Any man who beat her or raped her would pay dearly. She lied about it, I’d say. And, post bombing, she went from domestic abuse survivor to she and the Kiwi as partners in a perfectly harmonious divorce with no custody probs. JB always did what she felt she had to do, and her constant line of bullshit after the bombing was aimed at keeping herself out of federal prison. The bullshit commenced, some of us will recall, after the FBI denied her request for partial immunity from prosecution.

  2. Lee Edmundson November 30, 2021

    Although I (still) enjoy reading Alec’s writing, his thoughts on JFK’s assassination are a bit off the mark.

    To begin with, Kennedy’s regime did not launch the Strategic Hamlet operations, nor the programs using “napalm and defoliation upon the south.” All these operations began after LBJ’s escalation of the war from 1964.

    While it’s true JFK increased the number of American military “advisors” in Viet Nam to 16,000, in October, 1963 he issued National Security Action Memo (NSAM) #263, which mandated a reduction of 1000 advisors by the end of the year. It has been widely reported that JFK’s intention was to have America’s military presence removed entirely from Viet Nam by the end of 1965. Well documented. Look it up.

    JFK’s rationale was that he couldn’t make any major move regarding Viet Nam until after his re-election in 1964. We saw how that worked out.

    What is oft times lost in the flurry of confusion/contention over JFK’s Viet Nam policy is his meeting with General Douglas MacArthur in 1962, during which the General strongly advised him to avoid a major land war in Asia. This, along with the McNamera/Taylor report of 1963, convinced JFK that there was simply no military solution to the civil war in Viet Nam.

    His strong shift in position regarding our military posture and future in Viet Nam was one (of several) reason(s) he had to be eliminated. Which he was.

    Alec was right about this: JFK’s assassination has little to nothing to do with American politics today — or in 1991, when he wrote the commentary –. America’s politics today is so very much darker. Murkier.

    • Harvey Reading November 30, 2021

      You’re literally flogging a long-dead horse. Kennedy’s administration WAS an early step toward what we have today, which is just shy of police-state fascism.

      • Bruce McEwen November 30, 2021

        That’s all very well put, Reading, but until you got your hands on this Modernist construction (that JFK was an egalitarian saint), I had no idea you were a Postmodern Deconstructionist. I lost all respect for the Kennedys when I read the book by Sy Hersh, The Dark Side of Camelot. I was especially revolted by the scene where the Kennedy brothers are eating a tureen of chowder in front of their guests without the slightest qualm of unease about their elite status, like royalty who wouldn’t dream of breaking bread with commoners.

  3. Craig Stehr November 30, 2021

    Sitting here on the big green couch at The Earth First! Media Center in Garberville, CA, eco-videographer Andy Caffrey sipping coffee to the left, the MSNBC news on the large screen to the right, and the AVA online edition front and center. Also sipping coffee, while reading through the regional news (plus the insightful comments), I am glad to have been able to contribute to the digitization of the EF! video archive and storing it all in the cloud for perpetuity. Being able to contribute to such efforts makes the difficulty of just being in this world worth it. Mulled this over yesterday on a mindful walk from Garberville to Redway, then chilled at The Lost French Man restaurant enjoying three IPAs on the back deck. Hitchhiked back, thanking the driver with a $20 bill, and then dropped into the Stone Junction bar for another beer plus shots of Woodford Reserve. Walked up to the Humboldt Bar & Grill where Andy Caffrey joined me for rib eye steak dinners with appropriate sides. Pushed on to Ray’s Market for late night shopping to get dessert items, plus a large bottle of Tanqueray for the holidays. Woke up feeling both basically satisfied with my current circumstances and a tad dull due to the previous evening of tantra yoga. But, a shower and teeth brushing followed by going back to sleep did wonders. Now rebalanced, am looking forward to whatever is next on my earthly journey, always interested in maintaining balance and not being attached to the rotting quagmire of samsara. It’s a delicate dance, yet superior to anything else that I’ve seen. The magic and joy are there. Furthur!

  4. George Dorner November 30, 2021

    JFK must have been privy to the three Sigma war games that were played during his administration. All three predicted defeat in Vietnam, as did the eight successive war games that followed. The circumstantial connection between the Sigma war games and the withdrawal of 1,000 advisors seems obvious. Details at https://en.wikipedia.org

    • Harvey Reading November 30, 2021

      One thousand of thirteen thousand? LOL. And if you still believe they were “advisors” then there is no hope for you.

      • Harvey Reading November 30, 2021

        Pardon me, SIXteen thousand…

  5. Marmon November 30, 2021


    Portney Appointed Health Services Director

    “Inclusive and participatory practices are the best way to hear the community’s voice, and for staff to foster meaningful partnerships that build community capacity and bring about community empowerment. I’m truly excited to partner with residents to promote the best possible health outcomes for Lake County.” –Jonathan Portney, MPH, CPH

    An urgent and important message from the County of Lake.

    LAKE COUNTY, CA (November 30, 2021) – The Lake County Board of Supervisors is very pleased to announce the appointment of Jonathan C. Portney, MPH, CPH, as the County of Lake’s new Health Services Director.

    “We are very excited to partner with Jonathan Portney to further our efforts to fight COVID-19, and promote the health and well-being of every Lake County resident,” notes Bruno Sabatier, Chair of the Lake County Board of Supervisors. “Mr. Portney is a highly motivated and energetic Health Executive that has shown great capacity in recent years as a community-based public health practitioner in San Francisco and San Mateo County.”

    Since April of 2020, Portney has been actively engaged in pandemic response as Executive Director of Daly City Health Center, ensuring quality care and services in historically complex circumstances. Other recent leadership experiences have included a stint from 2018-2020 as Director of the Community Health Ambassador Program for San Francisco’s Urban Services YMCA, and a two-year term as Director of the Hospital Family Resource Center and Rural Mobile Clinic for Waterloo Adventist Hospital in Sierra Leone.

    His education as a Master’s degree recipient and Doctoral candidate at the prestigious Loma Linda University in Southern California served as invaluable preparation. Emphases in Portney’s study included Health Technology and Organizational Development, Program Planning and Health Education Training Development, as well as treatment of respiratory disorders.

    Portney also recognizes certain population groups are more vulnerable to adverse health outcomes, due to environmental, behavioral, social and biological factors. The diversity of contributors to people’s health is a key reason Portney emphasizes a community-focused approach to public health:

    “Inclusive and participatory practices are the best way to hear the community’s voice, and for staff to foster meaningful partnerships that build community capacity and bring about community empowerment. I’m truly excited to partner with residents to promote the best possible health outcomes for Lake County.”

    Please join the Board of Supervisors in welcoming Jonathan Portney to Lake County! His appointment as Health Services Director is effective January 10, 2022.


    • Marianne McGee November 30, 2021

      Does that mean we can beg Gary Pace,MD and with more degrees, to come back to Mendocino County?

      Oh no, that’s right he quit when the Behavior Mental Health Director was blatantly fired by the CEO and I don’t think that legal case, like so many, has been resolved.

      And isn’t it interesting that the battle between the CEO, oops I mean county government, and the sheriff is again about one of the many outside legal resources being denied because they already have a lawsuit with the county. Almost a duh moment as so many outside legal firms are sucking off the county at the same time we are whining about a measly $12,000 to help the auditors transfer with the county’s new fiscal system?

      While I was taken aback when Sheriff Kendall said he’s never seen an issue he needed to report, I was more disgusted by the recent whining about the auditor retiring. Nobody had anything except praise when Tom Allman sold us Measure B for mental health, which is worse than a debacle, retired a year after reelection and then went to work as a street cop Humboldt county!

      And if you want to know about the COVID-19 spread in Mendocino County, I can tell you about the lack of tracking and spreading the public may not realize. Part of the problem is getting helpful and consistent follow up from public health, especially with the follow up.

      As a person who has worked in social services, government and health care I cannot imagine how hard it has been on these professionals and I appreciate their committed service.

      On the other hand, I question the county leadership as to their oversight and contributions. There’s so many critical issues facing this county right now, strong leadership will be the deciding factor. And the leadership needs to come from elected officials and the community, not from staff.

    • Harvey Reading December 1, 2021

      If Marmon likes him, better run for cover!

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