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Mendocino County Today: Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021

Warm Day | 11 Cases | 2 Deaths | Main 1878 | Generous Offer | Tatum Guilty | Firecycle | 101 Enforcement | Wine Sale | Coach Thanks | Adult Ballet | Boat Parade | Phone Story | Pancake Breakfast | Visit Greenwood | Air Insurance | Cemetery Lawsuit | 1938 Prices | Consolidation Question | Drought Conservation | Kingfisher Friends | GP Skunk | Companion Planting | Bliss Ninny | Liberty Head | Redistricting Hearing | Yesterday's Catch | Pedo Island | Booking Cage | JFK Files | Must Wash | Trump Positive | Peaky Blinders | Covid Speculation | Defense Budget

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COASTAL CLOUDS AND FOG will linger today, while interior valley clouds give way to afternoon sunshine. Daytime highs across the interior will continue to run well above normal, but nighttime lows and coastal temperatures will remain mostly seasonal. Rain will spread across much of the area on Monday. (NWS)

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11 NEW COVID CASES and two more deaths reported in Mendocino County yesterday afternoon.

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TWO MENDOCINO COUNTY RESIDENTS recently passed away from COVID-19. Our thoughts are with all of their families and friends.

Death #98: 87 year-old woman from the Ukiah area; unvaccinated.
Death #99: 64 year-old man from the Ukiah area; unvaccinated with severe comorbidities.

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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Main Street, Mendocino, 1878

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IF YOU ARE ELDERLY PLEASE do not go up a ladder to clean your roof & gutters. We will do it FREE for your safety.

Stephen Dunlap, Dunlap Roofing
Serving Mendocino County
Mendocino/Fort Bragg 707.964.8735
Ukiah/Inland 707.462.7506

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by Sukey Lewis

The former head of the Rohnert Park Public Safety Department’s drug interdiction team pleaded guilty Wednesday to federal charges of conspiracy to commit extortion under "color of law," falsifying records in a federal investigation and tax evasion.

Ex-Sgt. Brendan “Jacy” Tatum and his former partner, Joseph Huffaker, were both indicted by a federal grand jury in September for their role in an unlawful marijuana and asset seizure scheme uncovered by KQED in 2018.

Sgt. Brendan "Jacy" Tatum walks into the Phillip Burton Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in San Francisco. (Sukey Lewis/KQED)

Tatum stood straight-backed in a dark navy suit in the wood-paneled federal courtroom in San Francisco before Judge Maxine Chesney. She methodically went over the three counts of the indictment and then asked Tatum how he pleaded.

"Guilty, your honor," he said.

Tatum declined to publicly comment at Wednesday’s hearing. But about an hour after the court hearing, his lawyer, Stuart Hanlon, emailed KQED about Tatum’s plea.

"My client plead guilty to all charges he is facing because he is in fact guilty," Hanlon said. "He realizes he has made huge mistakes and that there will be serious consequences for him. He is ready to face these consequences. The first step is to admit what he has done."

Hanlon said Tatum’s career as a "good and honest police officer" will be overshadowed, adding that Tatum would "accept the judgement of the Court." He said his client wants to try and make up for what he has done and focus on his family.

"To say he is sorry for what he has done does not come close to expressing his regret and shame," Hanlon added. "He knows he will go to prison, but that time will end, and he will begin a next part of his life. He does not intend to let his criminal acts define who he is."

Zeke Flatten, a Texas-based man who was the first person to come forward with allegations that he was robbed by police officers posing as ATF, sat watching this unfold in the courtroom. After Wednesday’s hearing, Flatten said Tatum’s guilty plea marks the “beginning of the end” of the years-long case.

"It was amazing to hear him plead guilty," Flatten said. "I think it kind of just solidified everything."

Huffaker has so far pleaded "not guilty" to all the charges. Huffaker’s lawyers declined to comment on what Tatum’s admission of guilt means for their client.

More than three years ago KQED, in partnership with the North Coast Journal and independent journalist Kym Kemp, first reported allegations from a string of motorists who said that Rohnert Park police officers improperly seized cash and marijuana from them during traffic stops along the border of Mendocino and Sonoma Counties — forty miles north of the small suburban town of Rohnert Park.

Tatum was in charge of Rohnert Park’s drug interdiction and asset forfeiture efforts. Between 2013 and 2018, the team led by Tatum seized around $3.6 million from motorists under civil asset forfeiture provisions that allow law enforcement to take cash they suspect is connected to criminal activity. Much of that money was turned over to his department.

Tatum’s team also seized at least two and a half tons of marijuana during that time, according to documents obtained and analyzed by KQED. In 2015, Tatum was publicly recognized by the city for his efforts.

However, after motorists came forward claiming that the cannabis seized by Rohnert Park officers was being transported legally, KQED found that destruction orders for hundreds of pounds of marijuana were missing. Tatum also had a history of dishonesty and was found by a federal jury in 2018 to have violated a couple’s constitutional rights during a warrantless search.

Tatum has now pleaded guilty to using his authority as a police officer to extort people he pulled over. The indictment also alleges the two were re-selling the marijuana they seized. The indictment detailed $400,000 in cash deposits by Tatum’s family members that were never reported to the IRS.

In a September email his attorney, Heather Phillips, said that she looked forward to defending him "so that the entire story can be revealed and Mr. Huffaker’s name can be cleared."

However, with Tatum’s guilty plea, pressure on Huffaker will mount. Earlier this month, prosecutors shared more discovery documents with Huffaker and his legal team, and indicated that they might be adding more charges to his case. His next court appearance is Dec. 15.

A spokesman for the department of justice said they could not comment on the case until after sentencing. Judge Chesney ordered Tatum to return for sentencing on March 9.

Flatten said he hopes that Tatum’s cooperation means anyone else who was involved in the illegal scheme will be brought to justice.

In June 2018, Tatum left the Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety. Over the next three months, the police chief and a Sgt. who supervised Tatum both retired. Huffaker left the department in early 2019 under the conditions of a settlement agreement he reached with the city.

Last year, the city of Rohnert Park paid out over $1.8 million to settle a civil lawsuit with eight plaintiffs who claimed hundreds of pounds of marijuana and $55,000 was unlawfully seized during traffic stops. Another lawsuit Flatten filed against Mendocino County in connection with the case is ongoing.


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Fireman's Bicycle, 1905

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REDDING, Calif. — The California Highway Patrol’s (CHP) Northern Division, having jurisdiction over the major transportation corridor of United States 101 (US-101) throughout northern California, will be executing a Major Corridor Enhanced Primary Collision Factor (PCF) Enforcement Campaign on Thursday, December 2, 2021.

This effort aims to reduce the number of injury and fatal traffic crashes on US-101 throughout Northem Division. In 2019 and 2020, a total of 1521 crashes occurred on US-101 in Mendocino and Humboldt counties, causing 535 injuries and killing a total of 32 people. The primary causes for these crashes were determined to be speed reckless driving, unsafe lane change, unsafe timing movement, following too close, distracted driving, and driving under the influence, with increased injuries and deaths from occupant restraint violations

The mission of the California Highway Patrol is to provide the highest level of safety, service, and security. This includes the prevention of loss of life, injuries, and property damage resulting from traffic crashes through enforcement, education, engineering, and partnerships.

The CHP is promoting awareness and safe driving along this major corridor route. During the enhanced enforcement campaign, the CHP Northern Division will target US-101 in Mendocino and Humboldt counties with increased traffic safety operations to educate and, if necessary, take appropriate enforcement action on drivers who violate traffic laws along this major corridor route.

“The US-101 corridor within Northern Division is winding and mountainous, with many areas of undivided highway, increasing the frequency of traffic crashes,” said Northern Division Chief Greg Baarts. "Increased visibility, aggressive enforcement, and public education within the Areas along this corridor will contribute to improved safety for motorists traveling on US-101.”

The CHP reminds motorists to follow these basic traffic safety rules: always wear a seat belt, drive at a speed safe for conditions, eliminate distractions while driving and always designate a sober driver.

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Happy December!

Beginning tomorrow, 12/2 the Market will be offering an amazing sale on our local wine selection! Any single bottle purchase will be 10% off, 15% on a purchase of 6 bottles and 20% of a case. Choose from our wide selection of Yorkville Highlands, Anderson Valley and Mendocino County labels. Sale will last through the weekend, with availability on a first come basis.

Wishing all of you a very merry holiday season!

Lisa at Yorkville Market <>

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JOHN TOOHEY: “A huge thank you to everyone who donated to our trip to Levi's Stadium!”

Coach Toohey, with a cash assist from generous locals, drove his Panther football team to Santa Clara last Sunday where they watched the resurgent Niners knock off the Vikings.

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Join me, Elizabeth Jensen, for ADULT BALLET @ The Studio Sobo on Wednesdays 5:30pm-7pm thru December 15.

We will begin with 45-60min Ballet Barre, followed by 30min Centre with Adage, Pirouettes and Allegro. 

All levels welcome.

$5 Donation suggested. #fortheloveofdance

LOCATION: Studio SoBo is located at 14275 Hwy 128 in Boonville. Please park on the street. You may enter thru the driveway next to the AV Fire Department building.

ATTIRE: Whatever you can move comfortably in and not be distracted by. 

SHOES: Ballet shoes are helpful but you can also just be barefoot and bring a clean pair of socks (although they are a bit slippery for the studio floor, they can be helpful for certain Barre exercises and Centre turns).

HAIR: I recommend securing longer hair out of the face with barettes or elastic bands (not scrunchies or other items that fall out).

WAIVER: Studio SoBo will have a waiver for the building and I will have a waiver for the class, so you are welcome to come 5-10min early to settle in and fill out paperwork.

COVID-19: All current Mendocino County Public Health guidelines will be followed.

- Hand sanitizer will be available outside the studio (it damages the studio floors).

- Masks are required indoors. 

*If you have any questions/concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I’d like to make this program work for everyone interested.

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RECOMMUNICADO. The AVA's incoming phone line is back up, despite some uncalled for scoffing at Mr. Fixit’s temporary use of sandwich bags. The Editor chose to ignore the backstory that he was the one who had our office towed away without considering the phone impact. So when AT&T disconnected the office phone in the old office/trailer their guys did indeed say they couldn't hook the line to the house because it had to be trenched and with conduit after which they’d deign to move the wire. This was after Mr. Fixit had called AT&T and was assured that their techs would handle the switch, not mentioning the trench/conduit requirement. Thanks to the scoffed-at Mr. Fixit who happened to have some old phone wires, we at least had phone service while the Scoffer In Chief made no effort to arrange for the trench/conduit. (Which turns out to be much harder these days than anybody expected.) Mr. Fixit’s impromptu hookup — which had to have at least some weatherizing and all he had was sandwich bags — wasn’t supposed to be permanent. Predictably, that temporary fix didn’t last and the wires shorted out before a trench/conduit could be installed. A new single wire has now been installed which is long enough to not need junctions with sandwich bags so we’ll see how long this latest impromptu rigging works. Instead of being appreciative of the temporary service Mr. Fixit provided since the office was towed away, Mr. Scoffer chose to make fun of Mr. Fixit and his sandwich bags. 

(Mark Scaramella)

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THE AV GRANGE is hosting a Holiday Pancake Breakfast on Sunday, December 12th, 8:30-11 am. Come celebrate the season with neighbors and friends and enjoy our fabulous hot cakes (David Norfleet secret recipe), eggs, bacon or sausage, and all the fancy fixins!

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Open 11-pm on Dec. 11 and 18. Learn about the incredible history of the town with two names.

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ATTN AV: “Do you know that ground ambulance is covered by most insurance but air ambulance is NOT? It can easily cost tens of thousands of dollars after a car accident, heart attack, Covid-19 infection, lung embolism, home accident, etc. These are just some of the reasons that my sweet hero hubby volunteer EMT has put residents and visitors in air ambulances for in 2021. It's available for a very reasonable cost through Anderson Valley Fire Department and helps to fund expenses for our ambulance.” (AV Fire Department Presser)

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Sacramento attorney Mark Velasquez, of the law firm of Best Best & Krieger, is working with the Russian River Cemetery District in asking for the public’s help in identifying those buried -- and their next of kin -- in a dozen unmarked graves at the Historic Redwood Valley Cemetery in Mendocino County. 

The graves are on a swath of property that is at the center of a land dispute between the pioneer cemetery and a vineyard owner next door.

“This case is about respecting and honoring the deceased, protecting our local heritage,” Velasquez told the San Francisco Examiner for a report published last December. “It’s about protecting the community.”

In a lawsuit against the Cemetery District, vineyard owner Michael Pecherer is seeking to have the remains of those buried at least 100 years ago removed from a 15-foot section of the historic pioneer cemetery he says is on his land. The Mendocino Superior Court recently denied a motion by the Cemetery District to have the case dismissed for not including the next of kin of those buried in the disputed area. The court stated in part that the Cemetery District may bring the motion again in the future after more information is known.

The dispute and search was also the subject of a report by KZYX, the Mendocino County public radio station.

Anyone with knowledge of those buried in the cemetery, and especially potential next of kin, are asked to contact Velasquez as soon as possible at

(DA Presser)

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A NAPA COUNTY ANALYSIS of the possible consolidation of county financial offices is circulating around a few locals who oppose the abrupt proposal to combine the Treasurer-Tax Collector and Auditor-Controller offices. The County Farm Bureau, one of the few local organizations to pay attention to such things, began the discussion. Everyone (except the Supervisors) who have seen it are skeptical of the idea. Somehow Supervisor Dan Gjerde got wind of the discussion and called one of the circulators to try to defend consolidation. Gjerde offered mostly organizational generalizations and abstractions to justify the idea, thinking that if the Board had more control over the position County finances would somehow be better managed. They won’t. Only monthly reporting of budgets, staffing, projects, problems and cost drivers by departments would do that. Gjerde also told the circulator that if the offices were consolidated the County’s new property tax administration system would have been implemented sooner. This complaint is from the same Supervisor who, like his zooming colleagues, hasn’t asked for a status report on that project in years. Nevermind that the project was handed off to two small, understaffed offices with very little capacity for the amount of additional work involved. In fact, the Supervisors, including Gjerde, have never asked for regular project status updates, and their failure to stay on top of the property tax system upgrade is one of several important projects they failed to pay attention to. They never asked the offices involved what the schedule was or what they could do to speed it up. Yet, here’s Gjerde complaining about it privately as a bogus reason for financial office consolidation.

(Mark Scaramella)

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Conservation Emergency Regulations

Drought Conservation Emergency Regulation – January 2022 

The State Water Board finds that an emergency exists due to severe drought conditions and that adoption of proposed emergency regulations is necessary to address the emergency. Over the course of the spring and summer of 2021, Governor Newsom proclaimed a drought state of emergency for all counties in California, culminating, to date, with his October 19, 2021 proclamation (press release), urging Californians to step up their water conservation efforts. Immediate action is needed to ensure water suppliers and all Californians are taking sufficient actions to conserve water and preserve the State’s water supply. On January 4, 2022, the State Water Board will consider a proposed resolution adopting emergency regulations. See files below for more information. 

Notice of Proposed Emergency Rulemaking (11/30/2021)

Proposed Text of Emergency Regulations (11/30/2021)

Digest (11/30/2021)

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A READER WRITES: This wild kingfisher's grandparent, I found in the garden, nearly dead, some years ago. Nursed him back to health, and set him free. The next morning, the family swooped down, past me, in gratitude. 

A couple of years later, I awoke to find the next generation, a parent of this bird, waiting for me on the terrace, his wing seemed broken. I picked him up and examined him. He never flinched, and stared deeply into my eyes. A thorn had locked his wing from operating. I pulled it out, and set him free. Without fail, he passes my window every day at the same time, crying out to me. 

This baby, sat in the tree, eye to eye with me, then flew directly to my hand, and sat there for several minutes, before flying away. 

Intuition, compassion, good intent, those essences of love, was all we had. Pure, unspoken. 

An energy that has no end, and passes silently onward, much further than we can imagine.

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by Eric Ting

Mendocino County's Skunk Train, a popular tourism attraction that takes visitors on a scenic 3.5-mile ride around the Fort Bragg area, believes it is a public utility.

That classification matters because under California law, railroads that are considered to be public utilities have eminent domain rights, meaning they can seize private property for public use. After nearly 20 years of attempting to acquire the vacant Georgia-Pacific mill site near the city of Fort Bragg, an ongoing war of words with city officials and an ill-timed “oversight” on behalf of the city's attorneys, the company that owns the Skunk Train used eminent domain to acquire 270 acres of land that includes the mill site as well as 20% of the city of Fort Bragg.

"The deed is signed over and it's done," said Fort Bragg Vice Mayor Jessica Morsell. "We're f—ked on that, 270 acres have been grabbed, and we have no legal mechanism to block that at this point because it was ceded by Georgia-Pacific."

Mendocino Railway, the company that owns the Skunk Train, received the land from Georgia-Pacific — the owner of the mill site — two weeks ago. The city was previously in discussions to acquire the land from Georgia-Pacific, but the process was slowed by a lengthy negotiation process that Morsell believes was intentionally prolonged ("We got played by Georgia-Pacific," she said). Under her theory, Georgia-Pacific sought to cede the land to Mendocino Railway to escape any potential liability over necessary remediation of the land, as the abandoned mill site is rife with arsenic and harmful carcinogens.

As a federally recognized railway, the Skunk Train is only subject to federal regulation and can circumvent state and local regulatory processes, which Morsell believes was the point of the "land grab," as she described it.

"They commandeered land that needs to have remediation done, but they've made the argument they're not subject to the state agency that oversees remediation," she said, in reference to the California Department of Toxic Substances Control. "Now anything they build on that land related to the railroad is exempt from oversight."

Robert Pinoli, the president of Mendocino Railway, bristled at Morsell's characterization.

"My response is, I’m sorry they feel that way, but their concern that we’re going to circumvent state and local permitting processes is simply not true," he said. "With respect to development, whatever isn’t railroad use, we will follow state and local laws."

Morsell said Mendocino Railway is likely to tie any projects on the land — whether they be homes, restaurants or hotels — to the railway to circumvent local laws.

"They want the train to go the length of town and stop at stores and restaurants they own, and are technically tied to railway operations so they get out of regulation," she said. "They're trying to build a theme park on our headlands, with access to property completely controlled by them."

That's a charge that Pinoli strongly denied, while pushing back on characterizations that the railway is merely a 3.5-mile "excursion line." He noted that the company owns 40 miles of railway from Fort Bragg to Willits, though the connection is blocked by a collapsed tunnel and other portions of the railway are inoperable.

Whether Mendocino Railway will actually voluntarily subject itself to city oversight will be determined later, but for now, the relationship between the Skunk Train and the city is frayed, to say the least, though it's not as if the two ever got along all that well.

For years, Mendocino Railway and Fort Bragg have battled over land rights, with fights growing increasingly nasty over time. Last year, Mendocino Railway cut down trees on lands owned by residents and had to apologize to the land owners. 

"The definition of integrity is doing the right thing when no one looking," said Fort Bragg Mayor Bernie Norvell. "[Mendocino Railway] say[s] all right things, but when no one is looking, they're not doing the right thing."

Morsell said that the tree incident is evidence that the railroad company is untrustworthy and that their acquisition of additional land should alarm residents who value their property rights. Pinoli said that the trees cut down were the "width of soda cans," residents accepted the company's apology, and that the city is overreacting to the incident.

However, it is not just the city that is seeking to curb the power of Mendocino Railway. Earlier this year, Mendocino Railway sought a Railroad Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing loan from the Department of Transportation in order to repair its 40-mile line. Several groups, including the California Coastal Commission, the North Coast Railroad Authority, the Humboldt Trails Council and local environmental groups, wrote letters in opposition, citing environmental concerns as well as the fact that Mendocino Railway is not currently connected to the federal railway system, thus disqualifying them from receiving the loan in the first place.

Mendocino Railway is not at risk of having to return the land to Georgia-Pacific, but the city is moving forward with a federal lawsuit challenging the company's status as a public utility entitled to eminent domain privileges. That lawsuit was intended to go out before Georgia-Pacific ceded the land, but, according to city officials, an "oversight" in the city's legal office stopped the lawsuit from being served until days after Mendocino Railway received its prize.

Morsell notes that if the city prevails in its case, it would still constitute a win as it would force Mendocino Railway to abide by state and local regulations on non-railway development, as she does not take the company at its word that it will not argue that houses, hotels and shops are part of the railway.

California's public utilities code defines a railroad corporation as "every corporation or person owning, controlling, operating, or managing any railroad for compensation within this State" and a railroad as "every commercial, interurban, and other railway, other than a street railroad, and each branch or extension thereof, by whatsoever power operated, together with all tracks, bridges, trestles, rights of way, subways, tunnels, stations, depots, union depots, ferries, yards, grounds, terminals, terminal facilities, structures, and equipment, and all other real estate, fixtures, and personal property of every kind used in connection therewith, owned, controlled, operated, or managed for public use in the transportation of persons or property."

The courts' decision will turn on whether the Skunk Train is transporting "persons or property" "for public use." Morsell believes the city has a strong case as the railroad is transporting "persons" for a brief excursion, unlike a railway that moves passengers seeking to travel from point A to point B.

"Our case is critical in protecting private property rights, because the Skunk Train has shown they're ruthless," she said while warning of future eminent domain claims if Mendocino Railway's status as a public utility goes unchallenged. "It's insane how much power a railroad has. We really underestimated just how brazen they are, and how much they can do by claiming they're a public utility."

Pinoli dismissed Morsell's predictions as fear-mongering, and said that company is merely trying to move forward with remediation and development at the abandoned mill site.

"We've been working with Georgia-Pacific on trying to acquire the land since 2004," he said. "It's time to quit talking about stuff and actually get on with doing things. If we're going to make community more vibrant for everyone, it's time to get on with it."

Morsell and Pinoli both said that the city's residents themselves are divided on the issue. Some take the city's side in being fearful of Mendocino Railway, while others believe development of the mill site is overdue and believe an expansion of the railway will bring jobs and tourism. (Morsell described the latter position as "propaganda" by the company, while Pinoli, of course, disagreed.)

There is one fact that is undisputed between the two parties: development on the recently acquired land will begin soon. Whether the city of Fort Bragg and state agencies will have the ability to regulate that development now rests in the hands of the courts.


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JUST IN FROM CRAIG STEHR: "Everything is Brahman! The individual jiva is the instrument only, to be utilized by the Divine Absolute. Otherwise, perform sadhana to keep the mind spiritually engaged and not lost in random discursive thinking. This is yoga. At present, I am sitting on the big green couch at The Earth First! Media Center in Garberville, California. The EF! video archives have been digitized, and put in the cloud for perpetuity. Social security benefits are incoming, replenishing the checking account back to the $2,000 level. Health is good. Ready to "follow spirit". Talk to me. Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare"

ED REPLY: "No offense intended, Craig, but are you what is called a 'bliss ninny'?"

CRAIG REPLIED: "Reality is beyond bliss. No perception!" 

ED REPLY: I’ll take that as a yes.

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Statue of Liberty Head, 1878, Paris

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The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors will hold its fifth Redistricting Hearing on Tuesday, December 7, 2021 at 1:30 p.m. following the Board’s approval of a final map on November 18, 2021. This action follows the extensive work of the Board-appointed, citizen-based Advisory Redistricting Commission (ARC). The ARC, with assistance from County staff from the Executive Office, County Counsel, and GIS, assisted the Board in the redistricting process by facilitating community outreach, identifying communities of interest from public input and drafting maps in accordance with the required criteria outlined in the California FAIR MAPS Act, California Elections Code section 21500, et seq.

At the December 7th regular meeting, the Board of Supervisors will consider introduction and adoption of an Ordinance to Repeal and Replace Mendocino County Code section 2.08, and attach the Final Map and description of the boundaries of the five supervisorial districts. 

Meetings are live streamed and available for viewing online one the Mendocino County YouTube page, at or by toll-free, telephonic live stream at 888-544-8306. 

The public may participate digitally in meetings in lieu of personal attendance. Comment may be made in any of the following ways: via written comment to,, through our online eComment platform at, through voicemail messaging by calling 707-234-6333, or by telephone via telecomment. Information regarding telecomment participation can be found at:

For more information, contact the Executive Office at: (707) 463-4441 or

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CATCH OF THE DAY, December 1, 2021

Ayala, Eder, Hughes

DERRICK AYALA, Covelo. Failure to appear.

ED EDER, Fort Bragg. Failure to appear.

WHITNEY HUGHES, Loleta/Ukiah. Disoderly conduct-solicitation of lewd act.

Martinez, Ortega, Roque

JORGE MARTINEZ, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

ARTEMIO ORTEGA-REYES, Ukiah. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, probation revocation.

ANNA ROQUE, Napa/Willits. Stolen vehicle.

Torres, Warras, Wood

VICTOR TORRES, San Jose/Ukiah. Public begging, suspended license (for reckless driving).

SARA WARRAS, Calpella. Probation revocation.

KYLEE WOOD, Willits. Controlled substance, failure to appear, probation revocation.

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So the Epstein pilot testifies under oath that Prince Andrew, Bill Clinton, and Donald Trump all caught the Lolita Express out to Pedo Island. What I don’t understand is why? Aren’t these guys rich enough and connected enough to get an extra-marital shag every time they need one – without getting caught up with the ultra-creepo sex-ring? Perhaps the ultra-creepo pedo stuff is what was most exciting. Who knows.

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Mobile Booking Cage, 1921

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CIA continues to conceal JFK assassination files

by Jefferson Morley (Miami Herald)

As a professional journalist who has been reporting on the assassination of John F. Kennedy for almost 30 years, I have long been skeptical about the pursuit of a proverbial “smoking gun” that supposedly will blow open the case of the murdered president. 

When the congressional deadline for the release of the last of the JFK files approached last month, I instinctively advised friends that there would be no smoking gun in the released material. After all, no serious investigative reporter seeks a single piece of evidence to decisively prove some kind of wrongdoing. 

To the contrary, good investigative journalism assembles myriad pieces of evidence into a mosaic that depicts a granular story of wrongdoing not previously visible to the public and law enforcement. Most prize-winning journalistic investigations do not depend on, or even feature, a “smoking gun” piece of evidence. So why should the JFK assassination story? 

As the editor of the JFK Facts blog, I report on new pieces of evidence that filled in blank spaces in the historical record of JFK’s assassination. Think mosaic, not smoking gun.

But when the Biden White House announced late in the evening of Oct. 22 that the last of the JFK documents would not be released until December 2022 at the earliest, I began to rethink my caution. Friday nights are traditionally when the White House press office takes out the president’s smelliest garbage in hopes that the stench will pass by Monday morning. 

The announcement that the CIA and other federal agencies had delayed compliance with the 1992 JFK Records Act for the second time in four years was a story the White House understandably wanted to go away. 

The delay struck me — and University of Texas Professor James Galbraith, among others — as a smoking gun in itself. The CIA’s slow-walking tactics are not quite definitive proof of a JFK conspiracy. They do, however, demonstrate that the CIA does not intend to obey a law concerning the assassination of a sitting American president. 

The most plausible explanation of the CIA’s six-decade long history of deception, deceit and delay about assassination-related records is the desire to hide embarrassment or malfeasance. If nothing else, Biden’s order on the JFK files indicates that the CIA has a JFK problem: the clandestine service today cannot afford full disclosure about what happened in Dallas a long time ago. 

To be sure, there are other possible explanations. Mark Zaid, a leading national security attorney in Washington, suggests that the CIA is hiding legitimate non-JFK secrets. This is possible, if not probable. But the CIA, facing a deadline set by President Trump in October 2017, released no JFK documents of any kind, basically saying, “the COVID dog ate my homework.” You don’t have to be a conspiracy theorist to wonder if non-JFK secrets is all they are withholding. 

In fact, JFK researchers know something about what the CIA is hiding. Most of the still-secret JFK files have been partially declassified. In some documents only a paragraph, sentence or single word remains secret. From context we can deduce much about what is still hidden. 

A redacted 123-page CIA file on Watergate burglar Howard Hunt, released in April 2018, for example, may shed light on what President Richard Nixon called “the whole Bay of Pigs thing.” Nixon used this phrase as a coded reference to JFK’s assassination, according to his chief of staff, H.R. Haldeman. The Hunt file lends credence to Haldeman’s claim. 

In 1970, Hunt, a leading figure in the failed invasion of Cuba, circulated the manuscript of his memoir, “Give Us This Day,” which denounced JFK’s Cuba policy as weak, if not traitorous. Hunt did not go through the agency’s pre-publication clearance process, a serious breach of protocol. Five documents, comprising eight pages of material, have been removed from the Hunt file with the notation that they can be found in CIA’s JFK files. 

I doubt these documents include a smoking gun, but they are certainly relevant to the assassination story. The CIA file of Hunt’s fellow burglar Frank Sturgis has more smoking-gun potential. Sturgis, a long-time resident of Miami, was a soldier of fortune involved in anti-Cuba operations in the 1960s. Accused of involvement in Kennedy’s assassination, Sturgis denied he was in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963. But behind closed doors, Sturgis boasted to investigators that the FBI considered him a plausible suspect in JFK’s murder. The redacted material in the Sturgis file may shed light on questions about Mafia involvement in JFK’s murder. 

These passages concern the agency’s long-running interest in a man named Robert Maheu. He was a corrupt former FBI agent who facilitated the first CIA conspiracy to assassinate Fidel Castro in 1960. In 1971, Maheu shared what he knew of the Castro plots with syndicated columnist Jack Anderson. 

Maheu’s source, Mafia hitman Johnny Rosselli had hinted that the CIA’s efforts to kill Castro had led to the assassination of JFK. Rosselli, under federal investigation, with the possibility of deportation to Italy, threatened to tell the whole story to a Las Vegas grand jury. The blackmail ploy worked. The agency protected Rosselli from deportation, and Maheu never told the story to prosecutors. 

Years later, Rosselli, facing a congressional subpoena seeking his JFK testimony, was found stuffed in an oil drum floating in Biscayne Bay before his appearance on Capitol Hill. 

Another still-secret file concerns a Miami man named Eladio del Valle. Some of his associates — not conspiracy theorists and not enemies— believed he was involved in Kennedy’s assassination. Del Valle was murdered in 1966, a crime that never was solved. David Kaiser, a diplomatic historian and author of “The Road to Dallas,” a scholarly book about Kennedy’s assassination, sought to get access to Del Valle’s CIA records. He learned the Del Valle file was — and is — classified in its entirety. 

Then there’s a 338-page file that traces the very interesting career of James Walton Moore, the chief of the Dallas office of the agency’s Domestic Contacts Division in 1963. Moore knew all about Lee Harvey Oswald a year before he supposedly killed Kennedy. In the summer of 1962, Moore learned that Oswald, a former Marine who had defected to the Soviet Union out of sympathy for communism, had returned to Texas with a Russian wife. 

If the official JFK story is true — if Oswald alone killed the president — Moore was one of a half dozen senior CIA officials who failed to discern the threat he posed. The CIA has largely managed to keep Moore out of the JFK investigations. He was never questioned about his pre-assassination knowledge of the accused assassin. His personnel file was partially released in 2018. A dozen pages remain redacted in their entirety. 

Even more sensitive are the files of George Joannides, chief of CIA covert action operations in Miami. In 1963, Joannides ran a network of Cuban agents, recruited under a program code-named AMSPELL, who generated propaganda about the pro-Castro Oswald before and after JFK was killed. A dozen documents from Joannides’ personnel file in 1963 are still kept secret on the grounds that their release would harm the national security of the United States in 2021. This claim sounds extreme but I’m inclined to believe it. The release of these records could do real damage to the reputation of the CIA. 

One heavily redacted memo that I obtained in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit concerns a security clearance Joannides received to participate in a still-undisclosed top-secret operation in the summer of 1963. If that operation involved AMSPELL agents and Oswald’s Cuba activities, the memo will be strong evidence that certain CIA officers were complicit in Kennedy’s murder. The CIA partially declassified an 87-page AMSPELL file in 2018. A dozen pages are still hidden from public view. If, and when, they are declassified, these pages may shed light on the CIA cover-up that followed JFK’s murder. 

Of course, my educated guesses could be wrong. After all, I cannot see the redacted material. Only top CIA officials know what the agency will — and will not — release in compliance with Biden’s order. 

The sheer variety of the still-secret JFK files, however, indicates the scope of the agency’s JFK problem today. Six decades after the Dallas ambush, there is a lot of potentially embarrassing JFK material — hundreds of pages worth---that the CIA is loath to share with the Congress and the American people. 

Do one or more of these pieces of the JFK mosaic add up to a veritable smoking gun? In my opinion, yes, which is why I doubt any significant JFK files will be released in the coming weeks or on December 2022. The CIA, of course, could prove me wrong and dispel all doubts by releasing these files in their entirety at any time. 

That is not going to happen for one increasingly obvious reason: When it comes to the JFK assassination story, the CIA’s files are smoking suspiciously.

* * *

* * *


Donald Trump tested positive for Covid-19 three days before his first debate against Joe Biden, the former president’s fourth and last chief of staff has revealed in a new book. Mark Meadows also writes that though he knew each candidate was required “to test negative for the virus within seventy two hours of the start time … Nothing was going to stop [Trump] from going out there.” Trump, Meadows says in the book, returned a negative result from a different test shortly after the positive. Nonetheless, the stunning revelation of an unreported positive test follows a year of speculation about whether Trump, then 74 years old, had the potentially deadly virus when he faced Biden, 77, in Cleveland on 29 September – and what danger that might have presented....

* * *

Peaky Blinders Gang, Birmingham, 1800s

* * *


I’m not sure you have a section for rambling speculation, I just am getting REAL tired of people on both the “teams” deciding that if you don’t agree with them you are the enemy, BTW, my trust in “science” has diminished a lot since it became the #1 suspect in how this got started. The Chinese tested 80,000 wild animals and didn’t find it, NOW they admit it didn’t come from a wet market, and bat guano has been mined for over 100 years-how did this virus pop-up out of nowhere all of a sudden and then morph into so many variants so fast? When has that happened before? 

I kinda think “trusting science” might not be the best plan in all circumstances, as I KNOW they will do ANYTHING to keep people from putting any new controls on research and in 2013 Fauci was asked about the risks of gain-of-function lab work and said it was worth it — I think he was wrong on that and someday that it will be accepted as fact that we should not have allowed it with deadly viruses because of KNOWN failures in lab safety protocols.

The lab leak explanation was a wild conspiracy theory according to the MSM and the “experts”, now its become acceptable to call it the prime suspect, the more we know about this virus the worse the predictions and advice of the experts looks.

It doesn’t help that congress has exempted itself and their staffers from any mandates, or that the CDC doesn’t even know what it’s staff’s vaccination rate is, or that seemingly all of our “leaders” have been spotted breaking the rules they have the rest of us under. Anyone know why vaccination rates among health care workers are so low? What do they know that we don’t? Is it because they see doctors and other “experts” fuck-up on a daily basis and then try to cover their asses? Probably.

* * *

ED NOTE: It took a while to sort out the great killer Spanish Flu of 1918-19, which was blamed on Spain until it was confirmed as having its origins right here at home in Kansas among American soldiers being trained there. Vulnerable and unvaxxed people have died from covid. Vaccination would have saved most of them. Vaccination works, and the basic principles of immunization apply as surely as the principles of basic physics. I think Fauci has been unfairly vilified, mostly because he's highly visible. If the unvaxxed would have taken the shot when it was first recommended we'd be past this by now. But, no, here come internet researchers, and just like that every person in the country who flunked high school science refuses to protect himself and the rest of US. Fortunately, Americans of 1950 still had their wits about them or our children would still be getting picked off by polio. Of everything that has gone terribly awry in this country, the anti-vaxx movement is right up there with the most discouraging.

* * *


Heroes and Patriots Radio returns to KMUD on Thursday, December 2, at 9:00 am, Pacific Time. Our guest is Christian Sorensen. Our cohosts are John Sakowicz and Mary Massey. We'll talk about the 2022 U.S. Defense budget. 

John @ HEROES AND PATRIOTS - Heroes Patriots, Radio


  1. Eric Sunswheat December 2, 2021

    RE: If the unvaxxed would have taken the shot when it was first recommended we’d be past this by now. But, no, here come internet researchers…
    ->. November 20, 2020
    People who are vaccinated have a lower risk of severe disease but are still a relevant part of the pandemic. It is therefore wrong and dangerous to speak of a pandemic of the unvaccinated.

    RE: Anyone know why vaccination rates among health care workers are so low? What do they know that we don’t?
    ~>. November 19, 2020
    But there is something “mysterious” going on in Africa that is puzzling scientists, said Wafaa El-Sadr, chair of global health at Columbia University. “Africa doesn’t have the vaccines and the resources to fight COVID-19 that they have in Europe and the U.S., but somehow they seem to be doing better,”

  2. Marmon December 2, 2021

    NBC News Bay Area did another great job last night.

    In the interview Flatten said he is hoping that Tatum is truely cooperating, stating, “he holds the keys to the kingdom”


  3. chuck dunbar December 2, 2021

    “RECOMMUNICADO”—The Phone Story

    Thank you for the update, and the more fully factual recitation of this sad, but temporary, mess. It appears that Mr. Fixit’s role in this matter was one to be admired—not scoffed at, as Mr Scoffer did so boldly, with little appreciation of Mr. Fixit’s ingenuity and skill. We readers are glad that equity and a proper balance of fact has been restored to the AVA office. Peace– and Full Phone Service Forever– is our wish for you.

  4. Marmon December 2, 2021


    Unfortunately, I guess my earlier posts on this subject were not fit for AVA subscriber’s comsumption, or at least the Editor’s. With that said I will attempt to tie the knot as to why Allman, Eyster and Randy Johnson are listed as co-conspirators in Flatten’s RICO lawsuit that is currently filed in Federal Court. And why any future cooperation Tatum may provide to the FBI is so important.

    In Flatten’s lawsuit he claims that Allman contacted Tatum and asked him to write a bogus press release which undersheriff Randy Johnson later shared with Kym Kemp which eventually made its way to the AVA. Based on the bogus press release, Randy Johnson told Flatten the case would be closed. District Attorney David Eyster also used the same press release as a reason not to investigate. As for Tatum’s possible cooperation with the FBI he will eventually be forced to testify regarding this issue. Flatten says Tatum “holds the keys to the Kindom”.

    “Angry, Flatten vowed to get to the bottom of the situation. He contacted the Mendocino Sheriff’s Department, the FBI, the ATF, and eventually this reporter.

    Working together, we eventually learned that at least one Rohnert Park police officer, Joseph Huffaker, had participated in taking Flatten’s cannabis. We also learned that Sgt. Jacy Tatum attempted to cover up the theft by releasing a bogus press release. (Later, we learned that he had also about the same time, given the FBI, who were investigating Flatten’s allegations, a fake report.)”

    -Kym Kemp


    P.S. I purposely left out any sarcasium in this post hoping it may make its way to the comment section and not the trash can.

    • Marmon December 2, 2021

      PR Tip: The Cover-Up is Always Worse Than the Crime


    • Bruce Anderson December 2, 2021

      The federal case depends on the two Rohnert Park cops rolling on the Mendo people, if the Mendo people can be rolled on. Anybody can file a suit. Proving it is the hard part. I do think that Borges and Gurr, and Knight, got absolutely screwed by Fish and Wildlife, making them victims of Mendo’s ridiculously confused pot policy. They’ll soon be millionaires.

      • Marmon December 2, 2021

        Bruce, it’s obvious that Tatum must have made a deal for a lesser sentence in exchange for his cooperation moving forward. That’s how the feds work and you know that. More will be revealed.

        Ex-Rohnert Park police sergeant who led city’s drug interdiction team pleads guilty to extortion

        “Tatum’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for March 9. He initially faced a maximum sentence of 65 years in prison. Hanlon says his client’s prison time will likely be shorter.

        “I don’t think he is looking at what we call double-digit years in prison. He could get 5, 6, 7 years. He could also get less than that,” Hanlon said.”


        • Bruce Anderson December 2, 2021

          We shall see what we shall see, but so far no charges for Mendo. BTW, and for your information, when Flatten came to DA Eyster, as I understand the sequence of Flatten-related events, he said he thought he’d been robbed by tribal cops out of Hopland. Eyster advised Flatten to talk to the FBI because tribes are under federal authority. It would be peculiar for the DA to suggest the FBI if it had even occurred to him at the time that he would be named by Flatten in the subsequent federal suit. I don’t think Flatten’s federal suit is going anywhere unless the corrupt pair of RP name Mendo names.

          • Marmon December 2, 2021

            Flatten admitted years ago that he mistook the Hopland Police Chief for Bruce Smith. They look a lot alike. From the begining he said that Tatum was not one of the cops who robbed him that day. Eyster is trying to gaslight any responsibility he had in all this. “Oh, look over there”.


            • Marmon December 2, 2021

              That should be the other way around, he mistook Bruce Smith for the Hopland Police Chief. If Bruce Smith’s fingerprints are on Zeke’s car rental paperwork there will be no need for one of the cops to come clean, it would be better if they did though.


      • Joe December 2, 2021

        I hate to break the news to you all but the vaccine makers have backed off of claims that the current crop of vaccines prevents transmisson of the virus. They only claim it reduces symtoms. Proof of this is the high case rates in highly vaccinated countries like, for example israel. Dont believe it look it up yourself.

  5. Lazarus December 2, 2021

    The Kennedy issue is of no consequence, 60 years have passed. And anyone associated with his murder is long dead.
    Today the killers use the social murderless assassins for their bloodless eliminations.
    60 years ago, they just shot our leaders in the middle of the day. Perhaps crude? But very effective.
    As always,

  6. chuck dunbar December 2, 2021

    ED NOTE: “…Of everything that has gone terribly awry in this country, the anti-vaxx movement is right up there with the most discouraging.”

    Just so, Mr. Editor, and I’ll add “disheartening” to “discouraging” as another apt descriptor of this strange, dangerous behavior. What will become of us if this is the best we can do in a national (and of course worldwide) health crisis?

    • Joe December 2, 2021

      What is more disheartening is when people let big pharma get a free pass and people dont demand acountability. The regulators are captured and so is our government.

      • Harvey Reading December 3, 2021

        Amen. This epidemic is mainly a distraction to keep us from noticing how fascist this country is becoming, and has become. A nation of obedient, distracted slaves.

  7. Stephen Rosenthal December 2, 2021

    Interesting story about the Kingfisher. I have a similar experience with birds.

    A scrub jay formed a friendship (through the screen) with my cat. Every day the jay would stand on my deck at the sliding glass door and squawk at my cat. My cat chirped back. They conversed like this on daily basis for a few years. Then my cat developed pancreatic cancer and spent almost all his time in bed. But when the jay stopped by he would get up and they would chat for a few minutes, after which he would go back to bed. The first day after my cat died, the jay came to the door and squawked for a few minutes, then flew away. Same thing happened on the second day. After that the jay never returned.

    There are so many things about nature that we don’t and will never understand. One thing that always amazes me is how humans think we are the highest form of life on the planet. We’re not. Not even close.

  8. chuck dunbar December 2, 2021

    Oh thank you, Stephen, for this sweet cat-jay story. Our cat, a lovely creature, the finest, most gentle cat my wife and I have ever had, died recently of a fast-moving throat cancer. We had him 12 years and still miss him so. Your story brought tears to my eyes, thinking partly of our cat, and also of your cat and his friend the jay.

    • Stephen Rosenthal December 2, 2021

      I’m so sorry for your loss. The death of a pet is so hard, the hole in your heart lingers forever.

      • J. December 2, 2021

        Kudos to Molinari and Damien Nelson…the best.

  9. Marmon December 2, 2021


    “Zeke gets the most credit. He would prod me in my exhausted state to do the next thing. And he wouldn’t stop investigating every detail! My main contribution is I had the right contacts to absolutely know that press release sent out by Sgt Tatum was a lie.

    Sukey and her team kicked butt with her investigation into what was happening at the Rohnert Park Police Department–I’m in awe of what she accomplished.

    And Zeke’s legal team did some amazing work, too.

    And, the FBI and the Justice Department kept doggedly doing the hard work of proving each point.

    It takes a lot of people working hard and having some luck to take down just one of the crooked police officers involved here.”


    PS the bogus press release was what brought this whole episode to light.

  10. Ernie Branscomb December 2, 2021

    Great reading today! I think that the city of Fort Bragg will find they will be much better off with the Skunk Train developing the property to the west of town. Government is too cumbersome to get even the smallest task accomplished, evidenced by the fact that they couldn’t even buy the property. Sorry, I’m not saying that the folks involved with the city are in any way not competent nor good people. I’m sure they are. It’s just that megabureaucracies don’t work. (If it is not a word it should be)

    Jefferson Morley on JFK was bang on. My mother, Elsie, was uncanny in her ability to “read” people. She said that Lindon Johnson “had the look of a chicken eating dog” and that he knew the whole story of what happed to JFK and that he was certainly part of what happened.

    Great article by PHIL MURPHY. Fauci is complicit in the covid crisis. Fauci = Science, my ass!

    • Ernie Branscomb December 2, 2021

      Oh, and Stephen’s story about the cat and the jay was touching. My wife’s dog, Ace, thinks that I’m stupid because I can’t see, smell and hear the things that he can. Another thing that makes me think that critters might be smarter than us is that they are not hurling themselves headlong into extinction like we are. We are well on our way to giving the world back to them. I hope they will take better care of it than we did.

    • George Hollister December 2, 2021

      I would not say Fauci is complicit, except in a tangential, unknowing way. But for him to say, “If you attack me you are attacking science” is an extreme stretch. Sorry Fauci, you are not science, and with an ignorant statement like that, I suggest it is time for you to retire.

  11. Marmon December 2, 2021

    (Feb. 14, 2018)

    “WE TAKE THESE ACCUSATIONS VERY SERIOUSLY,” said Allman, adding that his office has determined that the allegations were incorrect in several respects: The cops involved were part of a Sonoma County “Interdiction Task Force,” not Mendocino County’s, not the Hopland police’s. The Sheriff said more information about the incident is being collected, and that it would be a “huge mistake” for anybody to think Mendocino County was involved. “We do not condone this kind of activity,” Allman said, “and anybody who stole anything, including marijuana, if that’s what happened, would be arrested. So it’s not true and it’s not fair to think anybody in Mendocino was involved.” The allegations are also under investigation in Sonoma County.”


    • Bruce Anderson December 2, 2021

      So far, nobody in Mendo has been linked to anything. I agree with Allman. It’s unfair to malign people as criminals without evidence.

      • Marmon December 2, 2021

        Bruce, it’s obvious that the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office attempted to cover up this crime and make it go away. That’s why they lied to both you and the Redheaded Blackbelt about what really came down. Kym having the right contacts squashed their attempt immediately once the bogus press release was sent to her by Randy Johnson. Their plan to refute Zeke’s allegation in the media totally backfired on them.


        • Bruce McEwen December 2, 2021

          The only thing that’s obvious is that the stretch of highway between Rohnert Park and the Mendo line should be renamed Shakedown Street, (w/ apologies to Jerry Garcia and/or in recognition of, all the dancing bears who had to haul their grass through it….)

  12. Dick Whetstone December 2, 2021

    I always thought James Ellroy’s take on the Kennedy assassination (American Tabloid and The Cold Six Thousand) was the most plausible that I had read, if not in the exact characters but in the scenario.

    • Bruce Anderson December 2, 2021

      Libra by Don Delillo always seemed most plausible to me, but I like Ellroy’s, too. And Norman Mailer’s was also very good.

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