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Mendocino County Today: Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022

Clearing | 4 New Cases | Gschwend Theft | Skunk House | Redbeard Interview | Senior Benefit | Lair Demolition | Tent Music | Mo Busy | Covid Test | Health Orders | Bicycle Club | Wildlife Intern | Harper's 1878 | Library Tax | Gay Marriage | Ed Notes | Yesterday's Catch | Bogus Stunt | Snow Bus | Water Supply | Fascism Rising | Compete Bezos | Log Chute | Planning Cancelled | Body Found | Nuzzling Cheney | Chess Match | Brash Comedy | Noyo 1922 | Marco Radio | Trapper | Exhausting Lunacies | Logging Op | Everybody Hang | Homer Wolfe | No Pardons | Main Street

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PATCHY FOG AND CHILLY MORNING TEMPERATURES this morning will give way to a pleasant day across Northwest California today. A near repeat is forecast for Sunday, but cloud cover will slowly increase across the area throughout the day. Little to no rain is expected during the next seven days, but there will be a couple of chances for some light rain next week. (NWS)

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4 NEW COVID CASES reported in Mendocino County yesterday afternoon.

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KIRA BRENNAN REPORTS: Theft on Gschwend Road, Philo

16 ft green trailer. Yoga studio interior with built in propane stove.

Taken between Dec. 31st-Jan 4th.

Looking for leads to bring back home. Very sad to think this would be a new reality. We are very trusting for a reason. We love and trust our community.

Also: all PO boxes Gschwend road on 128 were stolen from during the same period.

Please keep your eyes and ears out. 

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THIS DILAPIDATED STRUCTURE is home to Mendocino Railways (Skunk Trains) main engine. 

It is also where mechanical things for the railroad are maintained and repaired. Workers are compelled to work in this falling down structure rain or shine.

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by Colin Atagi

His cell at the Mendocino County Jail in Ukiah kept him dry during a North Bay rainstorm last month.

He has nightly showers to keep clean.

He even had enchiladas for dinner one evening.

But food, shelter and comfort aren’t enough for 40-year-old William Evers.

He yearns for the free, but feral, lifestyle that ended Nov. 4 when he was arrested near the coastal town of Albion.

Evers is suspected of being Mendocino County’s “Red-Bearded Burglar.”

Authorities say — and Evers confirms — that he spent 10 months living alone in the woods, breaking into vacant rural homes for supplies and shelter.

During his time on the run, casual conversation was a rare commodity for Evers, so he wasn’t shy about speaking with The Press Democrat about the circumstances that landed him in jail and earned him the moniker he has come to embrace.

“It fits because my hair is brown and my beard is red,” he said during a recent hourlong interview. “At first, I thought it was shocking to be that wanted by the cops. But, at the same time, it was cool to have a nickname.”

Dressed in a green jumpsuit with his hair neatly combed back, Evers spoke with a hint of a Southern accent as he reflected on his escapades in and around the city of Ukiah and the towns of Philo, Elk and Albion.

Suspected of being Mendocino County’s “Red-Bearded Burglar,” William Evers is incarcerated at the Mendocino County Jail, Monday, Jan. 3, 2022, in Ukiah. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat)

The monthslong hunt for Evers focused on dense forests and woodland hills and ridges along the coast.

He’s believed to have hiked nearly 50 miles through mountainous terrain between Ukiah and the Pacific Ocean, and the latter period of the hunt focused on a 5-square-mile area.

He was seen in person on rare occasions, though his image was captured in grainy surveillance photos that authorities disseminated widely in their efforts to track him down.

As a result, his notoriety spread along the coast. And a divide formed between residents who were eager for him to be arrested and residents who believed he needed mental health care.

Still others were intrigued by the unusual nature of the situation. They compared Evers to characters from history and folklore.

One Albion resident told The Press Democrat she referred to Evers as “Billy” because he made her think of Billy the Kid. Authorities have acknowledged his infamy and stressed Evers is no hero.

‘My life is pretty much over’

For the most part, Evers’ version of events aligns with what the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office shared throughout 2021.

He doesn’t dispute the burglary allegations and notes he is charged with eight counts of burglary — though he claims the actual number of properties he entered is “probably up in the double digits.”

As of Jan. 3, court records indicate he has been officially charged with four felony counts of burglary, but Mendocino County District Attorney David Eyster said six other burglaries are being reviewed for potential charges.

Evers does object to the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office’s assertion that he exchanged gunfire with deputies the night of May 12.

He is charged with attempted murder in connection with that episode, which authorities say unfolded after he opened fire on a sheriff’s deputy who was trying to arrest him while investigating a burglary on Cameron Road near the town of Elk.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, Evers “discharged a firearm multiple times at one of the pursuing Sheriff’s deputies.” No one was injured.

In Evers’ version of events, he contends he pointed his gun upward and fired into the air when the deputy approached.

“I told him to stay back. (The gun) was never aimed at him,” Evers said. “Their story is not even right.”

Eyster wouldn’t comment on specifics about the May 12 incident, other than it would be discussed in court.

“I’ll say that’s why we have preliminary hearings,” he said.

A date for Evers’ preliminary hearing will be set on Jan. 13.

Each count carries a potential sentence of 25 years to life in prison since Evers has previous convictions. Sentences would happen consecutively, Eyster said.

“My life is pretty much over,” Evers acknowledged.

How he ended up in Mendocino County

Evers said he grew up in Redding, where some of his relatives still live.

He doubts their willingness to help him, though, given his criminal history.

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation records show he was in and out of custody from 2007 to 2019 in Humboldt and Shasta counties on charges of burglary, vehicle theft and making threats.

In late 2020, he moved to Camp Verde, Arizona, to be near his parents under law enforcement supervision. He made money by working with his father, who is in the flooring business.

Drug use haunts Evers, who purchased methamphetamine and left it in a motel room where he had been staying. He returned to a locked room and, fearing the drugs had been discovered, he fled to avoid arrest for a parole violation.

He got a Greyhound bus ticket to Northern California, where he anticipated a sense of familiarity. He figured he’d lose himself among the northern redwoods, which would provide cover he couldn’t find in the likes of Los Angeles, Denver or Albuquerque, New Mexico.

He ended up in Ukiah in December 2020 and found an abandoned property 3 miles west of town. A 2016 calendar inside a cabin indicated it hadn’t been used since then.

Rifles and handguns were scattered across the property, and the cabin appeared to have been used to cultivate marijuana. Mouse droppings littered the floor.

With no money and nowhere else to go, Evers made the cabin his home for several weeks.

He survived by foraging for plants and hunting animals, fondly recalling a turkey he hunted and smoked in January.

“It was delicious. It just melted in my mouth,” Evers said. It was his last real meal before his arrest.

By February, he started to fear he’d been in one place too long. It was time to leave Ukiah in order to avoid detection.

Evers headed west toward the unincorporated town of Philo using a compass he found in the Ukiah cabin. He described it as the most important item in his possession.

He hiked five to eight hours a day through rough terrain and avoided the nearest arterial, Low Gap Road, to prevent passing motorists from seeing him.

The trek took five to seven days, ending after Evers came upon a storage building at a vineyard. He said he spent a week in that building, where he drank wine that was 20 years old.

Having grown weary of alcohol and being drunk, he continued west toward the Pacific Ocean and the unincorporated towns of Elk and Albion, a two-week trek.

“I figured soon I’d get into trouble and so I wanted to visit the coast one last time,” Evers said.

Gunfire sends him into the woods

The coastal region became home for several months after he found an abandoned house — marked by boarded-up windows — not far from Elk near Devils Basin.

For three or four months, Evers lived there. He survived by stealing food and supplies from a vacant home about 2½ miles to the east on Cameron Road.

Mendocino County sheriff’s deputies went to the Cameron Road house on May 12 after the homeowner reported his security system alerted him to an intruder.

That’s when the gunfire incident occurred. Evers said he dropped his handgun when he fled the scene.

Eyster said he was unaware if the gun had been found.

Evers looks back at the encounter with regret, since it raised the stakes from a burglary investigation to something much more serious that intensified the Sheriff’s Office’s manhunt.

From that point on, laying low became an even bigger priority and staying in vacant homes became more of a liability.

From June through October, Evers said, he mostly lived in the woods.

Investigators say they found about three of his camps, but he said twice as many existed. He even spent 45 days at one of them off Cameron Road due to an ankle injury.

“Most of the time I’d just find thick woods and they’d never come across me. They were in the wrong area,” Evers said of law enforcement.

Living in the woods was not without its difficulties.

Evers feared mountain lions and went out of his way to avoid property, like marijuana grows, where violent owners wouldn’t take kindly to trespassers.

He recalled vomiting after consuming wild mushrooms. He also suspects he contracted COVID-19 in September when he became even more ill and could barely move for seven days.

Later, on Oct. 24, he struggled to stay dry when an atmospheric river drenched Northern California.

According to the National Weather Service, the region around Albion received 4.84 inches of rain that day. During the entire storm period of Oct. 23-25, 6.22 inches of rain was recorded.

Soaked to the skin and covered in mud, Evers used tree branches to build a shelter, but it was all for naught: “I was basically swimming in that atmospheric river,” he said.

Books kept him occupied, and he also had a portable radio, which is how he became aware of his notoriety. He also learned that area residents were offering money for work they needed done around their houses.

The chance to make money was tempting, he said, but there was too much risk of being arrested.

Evers estimates he interacted with five people all year and was conflicted over fleeing or staying for conversation.

He recalled an Aug. 30 encounter with an Albion resident who caught him stealing vegetables from a garden near Middle Ridge Road. Evers said he felt remorse and wanted to talk to the woman, but that wasn’t an option.

“I figured most people were just going to call the cops on me,” he said.

Finally caught

Evers recalled seeing law enforcement pass him by on at least one occasion without noticing him.

Aside from the incident on May 12, the only time authorities came close to arresting him was during the early morning hours of Sept. 6.

They were within a foot of Evers near Navarro Ridge Road in Albion. He escaped after a sheriff’s SWAT team member twisted a knee and a K-9 handler fell and was bitten by his own dog.

Evers was arrested after an Albion resident spotted him along Albion Ridge Road on Nov. 3 and contacted authorities, who spotted him from a distance before he fled.

They returned the next morning and took Evers into custody following a foot chase that lasted 50 yards and ended with a K-9 biting his leg, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Evers said authorities referenced his notoriety as they loaded him into a patrol vehicle and he couldn’t help but smile when they took a photo.

Since then, he’s pleaded not guilty to the charges and remains in custody in lieu of $2.5 million bail.

Evers thinks he could have continued surviving in the wilderness “probably forever,” he said.

These days, he sits alone in a jail cell that he estimates is 54 square feet and notes he misses watching the San Francisco 49ers and would welcome a meal from McDonald’s.

A better scenario, he said, would be traversing the Mendocino County wilderness again.

“I definitely would rather be outside for sure, because being locked up sucks,” Evers said.


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NO SILENT AUCTION WITH THE DRIVE THRU CRAB FEED but we have this great raffle prize. No need to be present to win! Message me or call the senior center at 895-3609. Purchase tickets at the senior center or at the crab feed. (AV Senior Center Presser)

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Item will go before Ukiah City Council for final approval

by Justine Frederiksen

With only one member voting to preserve the building, the city of Ukiah’s Demolition Review Committee recently voted to approve a request to demolish two structures in downtown Ukiah, one of which houses the beloved local business Dragon’s Lair.

“I could go on and on about why we preserve buildings, why historic preservation is important, and that much of why we love Ukiah, and what makes it unique, is because of the historic buildings that we have downtown,” said committee member Alyssa Ballard of the Historical Society of Mendocino County. “And this one in particular (101 S. Main St.) tells a story of a large part of Ukiah’s history, which is agriculture, and we don’t have a lot of commercial buildings left that do that.”

According to the staff report prepared for the Dec. 28 hearing in which the committee considered the application by owner Todd Schapmire Jr. to demolish the structures at 101 S. Main St. (Dragon’s Lair) and 105 S. Main St. (Tom’s Glass), the building housing Dragon’s Lair was “originally constructed in 1921 as a hay barn and feed store,” and that the “pressed metal clad building is the only one left of its type in Ukiah.”

Ballard added that the entire block used to be buildings of pressed metal clad, with the current building at 101 S. Main St. the only one still standing, and it therefore is “representative of this former business section in Ukiah that represented this industrial/agricultural complex that surrounded the (Railroad) Depot.

“And I realize that agricultural commerce is not as exciting as some of the historic retail buildings we have on State Street, which is likely why it’s one of the last buildings left that’s representative of it,” said Ballard, adding that she felt the building met two of the three criteria that would “eliminate it from being demolished,” specifically the first and second.

Those three criteria are: “1. Has a special or particular quality such as oldest, best example, largest, or last surviving example of its kind; or 2. Exemplifies or reflects special elements of the city’s cultural, social, economic, political, aesthetic, or architectural history; or 3. Is strongly identified with persons or events significant in local, state, or national history.” According to city code, “if the Demolition Review Committee finds that any of the criteria listed apply to the building proposed for demolition, it shall recommend denial of the permit to the City Council.”

Several people submitted comments to the committee prior to the hearing, most of whom argued against tearing down the Dragon’s Lair building. Resident Pinky Kushner addressed the committee during the hearing, stating that she believed the building at 101 S. Main St. met all three criteria.

However, committee member Matt Keizer, who serves as the city’s building official, said he did not think that building met any of the criteria.

“When we look at the special elements of the building, I think a lot of folks are getting the store within the building, Dragon’s Lair, confused with the building,” Keizer said. “I do understand that the stores which have been there have ties to the community, but I don’t think that has anything to do with the actual structure. I think there obviously is history there, but a lot of that could be summed up with a placard or some type of display explaining what happened at that corner.”

Resident Tom Liden then addressed the committee, stating that while Kushner “brought up that the (Dragon’s Lair) building can be modified, the question really is: Will it be modified? It depends on the owner if it will be modified. And if it’s not (modified), then it stands in a deteriorating state, and may continue in that.”

Committee member Tim Eriksen, who serves as the city’s engineer and Public Works director, said he was also concerned about the deteriorating state of the building, and that he did not feel the building met any of the criteria in the city code that would save it from demolition.

“I really don’t feel like it fits into 1, 2, or 3, but I do feel that there is an element to the agricultural (history) that is definitely getting lost,” Eriksen said. “But I think the train depot is where that story is being told.”

No one argued that the building housing Tom’s Glass at 105 S. Main St. met the criteria to be saved, and the committee voted two against one (Ballard voting ‘no’, Eriksen and Keizer voting ‘yes.’) to recommend that the owner’s application to demolish both buildings be approved.

“If you’re not excited about the committee’s action, this is just a recommendation to the City Council,” Eriksen said after the vote. “This item will be heard in front of the City Council, and you will have another opportunity to speak about this item (then).”

(courtesy, The Ukiah Daily Journal.)

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Mendocino Music Festival, 1987

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Earlier this week I was taking advantage of a break in the rain to take the holiday decorations down Downtown. I got a few comments from people like “Doesn’t being a Supervisor pay enough”, “Isn’t there someone else that gets paid less that can do this job”, and something about am I littering or cleaning up litter.”

It runs in my veins to work hard and give back to my community. Not everything that I do has to do with being a Supervisor but it’s who I am as a person. I am grateful as a business owner that I am able to invest my time volunteering for the Main Street Program, the Chamber, Plowshares, the Food Bank etc. I’ll always be that person but I believe that we make time for what’s important to us and it doesn’t matter how many emails I have, how big the agenda is I will always make time you give back. No task is below me, as a leader I work right along with the people picking up trash and building trails and being an elected official doesn’t change who I am or who I will be. 

And not that it’s anyones business but no being a Supervisor doesn’t “pay enough” and I have three other jobs. As a single mom (now with a Mortgage) I’m also used to working multiple jobs to make ends meet. Being a Supervisor is a full time job, but it’s not 9a-5p so I’m able to keep working the side hustles and volunteering. Not every Supervisor does their work the same way, this page is for me and my views as one of five. I hope you’ll take the time to get to know your other Supervisors and learn about the work that they do as well. 

Happy New Year Mendo! If I wasn’t doing this, I’d still be doing this. 

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Dear Anderson Valley Community,

As you are probably aware, there has been a big disconnect between the Center for Disease Control (CDE) and California Department of Public Health (CDPH) following the release of CDE's shortened quarantine periods over the holidays.

We have been awaiting updated guidance from the Mendocino County Department of Public Health. Here is a bullet point of the new information we received as of this afternoon. This is EVOLVING and will undoubtedly change:

Q: What if a student or employee tests positive for COVID-19?

A: Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status, must isolate themselves for 10 days, but has the opportunity to shorten this isolation period. (See next question)

Q: According to the new health orders, when can students or employees return to school/work?

A: 5 days after a student or employee tests positive for COVID-19, if the student or employee has been fever-free for at least 24 hours AND if the student or employee tests negative for COVID-19 with a BinaxNOW antigen test, the student or employee may return to school on day 6. The student or employee will need to remain in isolation for up to ten days until they test negative for COVID-19 with a BinaxNOW antigen test. A surgical grade mask is required for the five days after the negative test.

Q: Where can I get a Rapid antigen test?

A: All AVUSD staff and students may take a rapid antigen test, free of charge, at their school office or at the District Office. If the test is negative after the 5th day of isolation and the student or employee has been fever-free for at least 24 hours, the school office will clear the student to return to school on day 6 and the District Office will clear the staff member to return to work on day 6.

Q: Is this new option only for people who are vaccinated?

A: No. This option applies to anyone who tests positive for COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status. Any student or employee who has COVID-19 may return to school on day 6 of their isolation as long as they are fever-free for at least 24 hours AND they test negative for COVID-19 with a rapid antigen test.

Q: When will this new option begin?

A: This new option is effective immediately.

Q: What is the definition of “Current COVID-19 Vaccine”?

A: A person is considered to have a “Current COVID-19 Vaccine: if: 1) They received all boosters for which they are eligible; or 2) They are fully vaccinated (2 or more weeks have passed since receiving final dose) but not yet eligible for boosters. Employees who are eligible for the booster will need to get the Booster no later than January 31 to be considered "current".

I know that it can be confusing as we adjust to the changed orders and guidelines, so please bear with us as we work to implement them. Please note that we are running two Concentric pools next week on January 10 and January 12 to provide maximum PCR screening opportunity for our students and staff. No other district in the County is doing that. All follow up testing will be with rapid antigen tests for positive pools. We will see a positive case increase due to the variant. We will manage the issues and be vigilant. N95 masks are available upon request.

Regarding sporting events, some districts are taking a pause, some are canceling spectators. We are going to determine our response based on our testing data and may, or may not, implement more restrictive measures. I will keep you posted. As always, MASKING IS REQUIRED, at all sporting events by spectators and athletes are required to test in the pool and also rapid test the day of the event.

I will keep you informed as we learn updated guidance. This information was just released yesterday afternoon. If you have any questions, please call my cell. Rapid tests for all employees and students are available upon request per the previous email.

Sincerely yours,

Louise Simson Superintendent

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Bicycle Club, London, 1884

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Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue just announced their spring and summer internship programs. They Are the largest, and one of the very best wildlife rehab facilities in California, and one of the few places internships and teaching programs are available.

Interns will work closely with wildlife including

  • Working with various species including raccoons, squirrels, and skunks
  • Learning proper handling skills
  • Diet preparation
  • Feeding baby animals
  • Pulling up and administering subcutaneous fluids and medications
  • Providing enrichment
  • Observations and record keeping
  • Cleaning animal enclosures

Spring applications due January 31, 2022 ad summer applications due March 31, 2022

Information at:

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Support our libraries - Time to Renew Measure A and Make it Permanent

In 2011 the voters of Mendocino County approved a 1/8 cent sales tax to support library services. Over time it has become clear that it's necessary to increase the tax to 1/4 of a cent and make it permanent in order to support the current level of library services and plan for the future maintenance or replacement of library facilities. See below for additional information from Jim Shields of the Laytonville Observer.

Jim Shields on the Library Tax Petition: 

Mendocino County library supporters informed me this week of their intention to circulate petitions to place a tax measure on the November 2022 ballot that would add a one-quarter cent (0.25%) sales tax to fund libraries in Mendocino County. Nearly every town in this county has a “Friends of the Library” group that work, organize and fund-raise to establish brick-and-mortar libraries throughout the county. My daughter is a founding member of the Laytonville library group.

I’ll be supporting the effort to get their measure on the ballot.

Here’s a summary of the petition they will be circulating, it’s self-explanatory:

Notice is hereby given by the persons whose names appear hereon of their intention to circulate a citizen’s petition within the County of Mendocino for the purpose of placing on the November 2022 ballot a proposal for amending the current sales tax for the sole benefit of the Mendocino County Library District. A statement of the reasons of the proposed action as contemplated in the petition is as follows: 

The passage of Measure A in November 2011, with over 75% of voters saying Yes, brought about a renewal of the Mendocino County Library system. Measure A currently provides over half of total library funding and the County contributes nothing from its General Funds. Increasingly, however, the need to fund improvements for buildings and equipment threatens the financial health of the Library. We want to build on the success of Measure A by ending the existing sunset provision and increasing the tax in order to provide stable and secure funding for needed capital investment. 40% of total sales tax revenue will go to new capital improvements. When passed, the current sales tax would increase from 1/8 of one percent to 1⁄4 of one percent. 

These funds will be for the libraries only, and cannot be used by any other County department or for any other County function.

County Counsel has specified the ballot title as follows: 

An Initiative to Add a One-Quarter Cent (0.25%) Sales Tax to Fund Libraries in Mendocino County 

County Counsel has determined that the stated purpose of the initiative is as follows: 

1. To impose a permanent one-quarter cent (0.25%) sales tax for the specific purpose of maintaining and improving library services in Mendocino County; and 

2. To create a special fund for these tax proceeds to be used exclusively for maintaining and improving library services. At least forty percent (40%) are reserved for capital investments, such as building improvements.

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I'D NEVER heard of Betty White until her recent death was all over the news, even all over the news I watch, which is BBC America and David Muir's Wacky Land Weather Report. Even the BBC noted Betty White's passing while Muir, of course, was awash in croc tears. Every morning, NPR mentions a celebrity's birthday. I've never recognized any of them, but I've heard NPR's conservative think tank intellectuals lament “the celebration of celebrity culture.” So, like, why celebrate it? We rightly worry about the onset of fascism in this country while “celebrities” like 50 Cent and Snoop Dog, whose birthdays NPR never fails to mention, encourages the destruction of millions of young people to live like criminals. And thousands take them up on it.

When I pull out up front, you see the Benz on dubs
When I roll 20 deep, it's 20 knives in the club
Niggas heard I fuck with Dre, now they wanna show me love
When you sell like Eminem, and the hoes they wanna fuck
But, homie, ain't nothing change hoes down, G's up
I see Xzibit in the Cut, that nigga roll that weed up
If you watch how I move, you'll mistake me for a playa or pimp
Been hit wit' a few shells, but I don't walk wit' a limp (I'm ight)
In the hood, in L.A, they saying "50 you hot"
They like me, I want them to love me like they love 'Pac
But holla, in New York them niggas'll tell ya I'm loco
And the plan is to put the rap game in a choke hold
I'm full of focused man, my money on my mind
I got a mill out the deal and I'm still on the grind
Now shorty said she feeling my style, she feeling my flow
Her girlfriend wanna get bi and they ready to go

from "In Da Club," lyrics by Curtis James Jackson III (50 Cent)

THE TV TALKERS the other night agreed that the 6 Jan riot was a “harbinger of things to come.” Not exactly. America's neo-fascists seem to learn from experience, unlike the Democratic Party who gathered to lament the event by enfolding Dick Cheney. Who? Dick Cheney, the man who set the whole world on fire. But there he was with big hugs for Pelosi and Schiff and the rest of the dreary leadership whose present vice-president said 6 January was right up there with Pearl Harbor and 911 as American catastrophes.

NOT. 6 Jan was a one-off riot. It's highly unlikely the Camo Buddies will bull rush Congress again. I must say I enjoy seeing these tough guys blubbering on tv about how Trump misled them, and crying through their tears that they'll never cause any trouble again.

THERE WON'T BE a repeat of 6 Jan because the magas are quietly, legally taking control of the power levers, all the state and county and even federal vote counter positions, the state electoral college positions, elected slots from Congress to school boards. They already have a good hunk of the cops, while the military brass is worried enough about fascists in the ranks to worry about it publicly.

WHO ARE THE MAGAS? They are white people who wish that black people were invisible again, that Mexicans were in Mexico, that women stood by their men, that gays were not having parades on television, that children addressed adults as Ma'am and Sir. This is what is meant by Making America Great Again. It isn't possible and, to what I hope turns out to be a majority of US, undesirable. But a big slug of Whiteys are definitely going for it.

MY MOTHER mostly disagreed, although she was gone before Trump, who I absolutely know she would have regarded as the preposterous buffoon he is. So, one night I'm watching David Muir with her. She'd just looked up from her earthquake maps — she hoped to watch the Big One on tv — as Muir introduced a segment on same sex marriage with a visual of two women tying the knot in San Francisco. “Bruce! Quick! Turn that off!” I'm fumbling for the remote when she says, “Oh, nevermind. It's probably a good thing homely people find each other.”

BUT LIKE a lot of people of her Depression-era background, my mother, while mourning the onset of almost every national development after the Kennedy Assassination, believed in basic fairness; she always supported the Civil Rights Movement and was all for Women's Equality. Her life's work as a nurse, much of it in emergency rooms, put her in working proximity with all kinds of people she saw as individuals, good, bad and indifferent, while often complaining how “soft” people had become, that too many people “whined” about relative trivialities. 

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CATCH OF THE DAY, January 7, 2022

Faust, Gragg, Logan

MATTHEW FAUST, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, vandalism, resisting. (Frequent flyer.)

BILLY GRAGG, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

SAVANNAH LOGAN, Willits. Domestic battery.

Nelson, Perry, Rios, Thorson

KATHLEEN NELSON, Willits. Burglary, pot possession for sale, controlled substance, paraphernalia.

JARED PERRY, Ukiah. Controlled substance.

SESARIO RIOS, Hopland. Stolen vehicle.

THOMAS THORSON, Nice/Ukiah. Controlled substance, evasion, parole violation.

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A READER WRITES: I was annoyed at the tone of the item toward the end of yesterday’s Mendocino County Today about the lack of public response to Joshua Bell’s 43-minute solo violin performance of some classical Bach music at a subway station on the east coast. The article implied that illiterate, dumb-ass Americans are too stupid to appreciate beautiful classical music — on an expensive violin no less! — because they didn’t stop to listen to Mr. Bell. Oh, but the children! The precious, innocent children! They alone remain unspoiled, not ruined by America’s cultural desert, thus able to stop and absorb the greatness of the gift of high-class music being offered to them at random in a subway station! The article compared the negative subway station experience to a concert Mr. Bell gave at which concert-goers paid big bucks to hear him — ahh, thank god, at least a few dwindling connoisseurs. But the comparison — not to mention the stunt itself — is bogus, intentionally skewed to create an insulting outcome when no such insult is called for or justified. Here we have people who are on their way somewhere, probably a job or an appointment, because they are in a public transportation area (and which itself may be running late). Are they supposed to just stop and spend time and money because some kid they don’t recognize — how could they? — is playing Bach on his violin? The 1000-plus passers-by didn’t ask for the concert, and Bach, especially Bach, is an acquired taste, not something most Americans know of, much less appreciate. It would be as if Kenneth Branagh showed up in a train station reading a soliloquy from Shakespeare. Would we conclude that Americans are stupid and unrefined because they didn’t stop and listen? Or, what if they put a full sized reproduction of Picasso’s wonderful Guernica on a subway station wall and nobody stopped to look at the crazy shapes? Would that mean that the non-viewers were unsympathetic to the plight of the victims of the Nazi bombing of Guernica? Spare me the moralizing Washington Post jerks who set up such “experiments” which are designed to give them another excuse to insult the American public they hold in such contempt. There probably would have been more response if they’d staged their stunt in a park or outside a library or public square where people might have some spare time. But in a busy subway station? What did they expect other than an opportunity to look down their oh-so cultured noses? PS. I am an amateur musician myself and I like a lot of Bach (but not violin, I confess) in small doses (not 43 non-stop minutes of it) and regularly play it on my personal baby grand. Bach was certainly a musical genius. His “well-tempered clavier” is wonderful. His fugues are brilliant. His organ and other keyboard music is the foundation for much of the western musical cannon. But Mr. Bell’s performance, credentials notwithstanding, was unimpressive, dull, poorly chosen, and in the wrong place — the reverb in the subway station made it worse. Count me among the WashPo’s denigrated rabble who walked right by.

* * *

Waiting For School Bus In Snow, 1947, by John Philip Falter (1910-1982)

* * *



For more than 100 years, PG&E diverted water from the Eel River into the Russian River by operating the Potter Valley hydroelectric project. The power plant is closing, and soon this vital water supply will stop. Lake Mendocino was built to capture the 300 cubic feet per second of water that PG&E diverted through Potter Valley to the Russian River. Without that water, Lake Mendocino would not have been built. Lake Mendocino provides a third of our water storage capacity. When the diversion stops, Lake Mendocino will become a mud hole.

We are in a terrible drought. The future does not look bright. Water cutbacks are mandated, while more water-dependent development is approved. Meanwhile, we’re about to lose a third of our future supply. Does any of this make sense?

I have no property near Lake Pillsbury. There is no hidden ax to grind in my woodshed. I simply think it’s a shame that we are about to lose a third of our water supply, and nothing but talking is being done to assure that the Eel River water we have had for 100 years continues to flow into Lake Mendocino and down the Russian River.

John Torrens


* * *

A READER WRITES: Jason Stanley on fascism rising. A brief interview...we are in the legal phase of fascism

* * *


The retail store is on the way out.

Amazon keeps taking away the advantage of the retail stores, ease of returns, better selection, instant gratification, and eyes-on selection. Retail sales has almost no protective advantage, thus its precarious position.

My wife says that retail stores have lousy selection, too, but that could be generational.

Ha, like paying to have holes torn into jeans legs. To make them look worn out?

Someone needs to come up with a better idea, always. Someone needs to compete with Bezos. Governmental protection to protect Amazon needs to be removed.

Along with all the other big corporations, competition needs to reign supreme.

Remove protection, do not penalize, the competitive sand box needs to be level.

* * *

THE LOG POND AT CASPAR MILL, CIRCA 1914 (via Marshall Newman)

* * *


Cancellation of January 20, 2022 Meeting

The Planning Commission meeting cancellation notice for January 20, 2022 is posted on the department website at:

Please contact staff with any questions.

James F.Feenan
Commission Services Supervisor
Mendocino County Planning & Building Services
My Direct Line: (707) 234-6664
Main Line: (707) 234-6650

* * *

Detective Story Magazine Cover, 1930

* * *


The appearance of Dick Cheney in the House of Representatives on the anniversary of January 6th helped identify the true villain on the scene

by Matt Taibbi

Former Vice President Dick Cheney visited the House of Representatives yesterday. He and his daughter Liz were the only two Republicans present at a moment of silence commemorating the events of last January 6th. It was a touching scene, which perfectly described why the surviving anti-Trump Uniparty of the political mainstream is at least as much of a threat to democracy as the “insurrectionists” they never stop wailing about. 

In a story entitled “Dick Cheney returns to the House and receives a warm welcome . . . from Democrats,” the Washington Postwrote that “Democrats put aside their fierce and lasting policy divides with the Cheneys to thank them for condemning the attack and Trump’s continued effort to undermine the 2020 presidential election results with his false claims of fraud.” 

(News writing has become a pre-fab profession, like assembling IKEA furniture. All you need is an Allen wrench and a list of the latest clichés. “Trump’s efforts to undermine the 2020 election” has replaced “Trump’s efforts to coordinate with the Russian government in its election interference activities,” and “Trump’s false claims of fraud” has replaced “Trump’s false claims of ‘fake news.’” Part of the significance of January 6th is that it updated popular propaganda stock, which had grown stale.)

I don’t mean to understate the seriousness of January 6th, even though it’s been absurdly misreported for over a year now. No one from a country where these things actually happen could mistake 1/6 for “a coup.” In the real version, the mob doesn’t take selfies and blaze doobies after seizing the palace, and the would-be dictator doesn’t spend 187 minutes snacking and watching Fox before tweeting “go home.” Instead, he works the phones nonstop to rally precinct chiefs, generals, and airport officials to the cause, because a coup is a real attempt to seize power. Britannica says the “chief prerequisite for a coup is control of all or part of the armed forces, the police, and other military elements.” We saw none of that on January 6th, but it’s become journalistic requirement to use either “coup” or “insurrection” in describing it.

The endless hyperventilating efforts to describe January 6th as a disaster on the order of Pearl Harbor or even 9/11 has been awesome to behold. Huffington Post nitwit S.V. Date even called it “1,000 times worse” than 9/11, moving the decimal point over on the famous Team America joke to create 911,000.

The panic inspired convulsions across politics and the media. Ted Cruz made a plea for mainstream recognition by denouncing 1/6 as a “violent terrorist attack” before cowering in retreat on Tucker Carlson Tonight, in the process pantsing himself with audiences in all directions. Meanwhile, podcaster Eric Lendrum, on the pro-Trump site American Greatness, devised the impressively crazy syllogism that because the mainstream caricature of Trump supporters is so incorrect, conservatives should therefore embrace it: “If their aim is to make January 6 their Reichstag Fire, then we should go forward celebrating the events of that day as our Storming of the Bastille.”

It was no heroic storming of the Bastille. January 6th was a massive LARP that got out of hand. Trump has been around long enough for us to know his pattern as a serial line-crosser. Like a comedian, he’s always trying out new material, and if he gets the right reaction, he comes back with a bigger delivery next time. January 6th was Trump dipping a toe in the lake of strongman politics. The reason it wasn’t worse is because Trump has also been constantly mislabeled as a Hitler, Stalin, or Pinochet. The man has no attention span, no interest in planning or strategy, and most importantly, no ability to maintain relationships with the type of people who do have those qualities (like Steve Bannon). Even if he wanted to overturn “democracy itself” — I don’t believe he does, but let’s say — Trump has proven over and over he lacks the qualities a politician would need to make that happen. 

Which brings us back to Cheney. All those things Trump is rumored to be, Dick Cheney actually is. That’s why it’s so significant that he appeared on the floor of the House yesterday to be slobbered over by the Adam Schiffs and Nancy Pelosis of the world. Dick Cheney did more to destroy democracy in ten minutes of his Vice Presidency than Donald Trump did in four years. 

Seeing leading Democrats nuzzling the man George W. Bush called “Iron Ass” summed up the essential problem of the ordinary person trying to find a political home in this landscape. Even if you find the Trump phenomenon troubling, his opposition is not only authoritarian, but organized and armed with the intellectual tools to understand and appreciate how the technological elimination of democracy might be achieved in the 21st century. 

We’re living through a period where an unpleasantly likely outcome for the ordinary American is the invocation of emergency powers to eliminate basic rights. From which side is that threat most likely to come? The pattern during Trump’s presidency was hyping the Russian menace to justify increased surveillance and censorship. Russia has since been switched out in favor of two new emergency bugbears. The first is the rise of “domestic terrorism,” and if you don’t think Cheney-style democracy-canceling is on the minds of officials heading into the next presidential election, you haven’t been reading the growing pile of articles quoting military types advertising their preparations for counter-coup in 2024.

The second emergency of course is the pandemic, which ought to have been exhibit A in Trump’s disinterest in being a dictator — he could have legally invoked all sorts of powers and did not. Instead, it’s become part of a widening propaganda campaign designed to enlist the wine-cave MSNBC set behind full-blown Big Brother governance. Remember our Health and Human Services Secretary saying last summer, in advance of a “door-to-door” campaign that was supposedly about urging people toward the jab, that “it absolutely is the government’s business” to know who’s vaccinated and who isn’t? Or, have you noticed the total disinterest of pundits and politicians in trying to distinguish between anti-vaxxers and people who merely have anti-mandate or anti-passport attitudes? It’s all the same obstructionism to them. 

Where have we seen this style of intentional line-blurring to justify the expansion of executive authority before? From Cheney, who took emergency politics to places even a sober Joe McCarthy could never have dreamed of. On the pretense that new powers were needed to combat the sweeping global threat whose existence 9/11 supposedly proved, Cheney institutionalized executive assassination, torture, mass surveillance, secret prisons, secret budgeting, and the wholesale elimination of congressional oversight over most of his program, turning the world into what one Pentagon adviser who talked to Seymour Hersh back in the day called a “global free-fire zone.”

It was under Cheney’s watch that we turned into a country that snatched people off the streets all over the world, put them in indefinite detention in an archipelago of secret hell-holes, threatened to rape their family members, and resorted to techniques like “rectal feeding” so often that one Guantanamo Bay prisoner had to bring a special pillow to sit in court.

The core principle of Cheney’s politics was not leaving his new bureaucracies of murder and open-ended detention open to legal challenge. That meant leaving no area of legal access visible. Are you on a watch list? Has the FBI sent out a National Security Letter to your telecom provider? Have you been approved for “lethal action” and put on the “distribution matrix,” a.k.a. the kill list? Courts repeatedly declined to listen to complainants with such questions because the secrecy of the programs made it difficult or impossible to prove they had a cause of action, a perfect Catch-22.

Even members of congress were often unable to find out about whole ranges of programs unless an accident like the Edward Snowden revelations came their way. Cheney built a government inside a government that simply did not recognize the authority of the other branches. It’s no accident this person is now receiving a “warm welcome” from Democrats because that party has for years now been openly worshipful of his secret-hammer model of executive rule, which expanded to a conspicuous degree after he left office. 

What would Cheney have done in response to 1/6 or the pandemic? We don’t have to work too hard to guess. His contemptuous vision of rights and constitutional law remains the face of American government, with the most obvious recent example being the extradition of Julian Assange. For thirteen years after Dick Cheney left the Vice President’s office, the United States remained committed to a ruthless manhunt of a person whose chief “crime” was the publishing of details of Cheney’s secret authoritarian state, from the “Gitmo files,” to the Afghan and Iraqi war logs, to the Collateral Murder video.

To go after Assange, the Biden (and Trump) administrations used the Espionage Act, a dystopian law from the Woodrow Wilson era written so broadly that being charged under it is essentially part of what defines a person as guilty of the crime. Barack Obama used it to go after leakers eight times. Worse, one of the people who was kissing Cheney’s ring yesterday, House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff, not long ago beefed up a similar law called the Intelligence Identities Protection Act (IIPA) that would make any journalist who revealed the name of a covert agent engaged in assassination or torture, even long after the fact, subject to prosecution. This from a man, Schiff, who is the co-chair of the Congressional Freedom of the Press Caucus! A few years ago, the New York Times got hold of the CIA memo arguing in favor of the provision Schiff reportedly helped insert:

"Particularly with the lengths organizations such as WikiLeaks are willing to go to obtain and release sensitive national security information, as well as incidents related to past Agency programs, such as the RDI investigation, the original congressional reasoning mentioned above for a narrow definition of “covert agent” no longer remains valid. This proposal would provide protection for all undercover Agency officers by allowing for the prosecution of individuals responsible for disclosing the identities of those officers…"

As journalist Trevor Timm noted, “RDI” stands for “Rendition, Detention, and Interrogation,” and is a common euphemism for the CIA’s illegal torture program. If the Democrats cared at all about issues like transparency, human rights, and civil liberties, they would be recoiling in horror from the prosecution of Assange, and the head of their intel committee wouldn’t be working to make it easier to prosecute journalists for exposing war crimes and torture.

Instead, they’re backing the principle of arresting a non-American for the equivalent of treason, using a law that would render illegal practices that virtually every national security reporter engages in as a matter of routine.

For those who want to retort, “Most journalists don’t steal and hackderp!” I’d encourage reading the indictment. All but one of the charges against Assange are for things like “conspiracy to obtain national defense information” or “obtaining national defense information,” with “national defense information” defined with extraordinary vagueness. Just hearing information “the President has determined would be prejudicial to the national defense,” or which may be “used to the injury of the United States,” can put you in jail basically forever under this law.

This is not the same as revealing classified information (there are different laws for that). Widespread application of this law, or the IIPA, would essentially criminalize reporting on state wrongdoing, which was exactly the CIA’s point in arguing for such measures.

Before the Cheney era, the vast majority of us would have considered such thinking repellent and anti-American. In the last five years especially, though, Democrats, former security officials like John Brennan, and ex-Republicans like David Frum and Bill Kristol have pounded the table for this logic as more necessary than ever. They claim, as Cheney did, that not only are some threats so dire that extraordinary vigilance is necessary, but that the nature of those threats is such that counter-operations against them must not ever be corrupted by due process or oversight. 

This is why these people can’t be trusted with policies like vaccine passports and/or Merrick Garland’s plan to “methodically track” what he called “violent extremists” and domestic terrorists in the wake of 1/6. The latter idea is particularly troubling given that no one connected with that incident has been charged with anything like terrorism, for the simple reason that what happened wasn’t terrorism. 

The potential applications for a souped-up domestic version of Cheney’s still-extant watch lists are horrific to consider. Are we going to widen the circle of people who will mysteriously find themselves unable to get bank accounts, transfer money, or attend schools? Do we want to leave it up to the White House to determine what’s reporting and what’s “obtaining national defense information,” particularly if they start stretching the concept to cover revelations about the pandemic? Yes, it’s a little ironic that some of the people now on those lists may have cheered their creation once upon a time, when the victims were mainly Muslims. But that doesn’t make the idea of expanding the policy any less asinine.

Cheney’s reappearance and the outpouring of loony commentary describing 1/6 as a “coup” or an “insurrection” (instead of something closer to the American version of a soccer riot) are related. The types of policies that Cheney instituted relied upon the idea that government was capable of making unassailable decisions about, say, who was a real terrorist and who was just a taxi driver or a small-town cop in Yemen. He was successful in taking the courts out of the business of reviewing the detention of human beings because he argued that when it came to terrorism, our “professionals” didn’t make those errors. Cheney’s idea of justice was the same kind of insane authoritarian whack-off fantasy as the “surgical strike,” only even more dangerous because it had wider potential applications.

“Professionals” do make errors, about everything from terrorists to viruses. In fact, a fair number of the people seeking this enhanced authority are dumber than average. You don’t have to like Donald Trump to recognize the dire threat represented by a clique of mediocrities with just enough brains to use their offices to organize the criminalization of their opposition.

Think about how badly we botched the War on Terror, how many bombs we dropped in the wrong places, how many innocent people we turned into prisoners while suffering global delirium tremens, using 800 military bases full of Hellfire missiles to scratch all over at bugs that weren’t there. That madness made us a villain across the planet, exponentially increasing the risk of terrorist attacks. Are we really going to bring that show home?

* * *

* * *


You know a satirical movie has hit its target when the mainstream reviewers call it “shrill” and “overblown.” That’s what’s happened to the brash comedy “Don’t Look Up” which was released on Netflix the day before Christmas. Most of the mainstream reviewers panned it. Audiences disagreed — the movie promptly jumped to the top of Netflix’s most-watched list in 89 countries. As one site said, “general audiences don’t give a rat’s ass about what the critics think.” Like the earlier political comedies “Network” and “Dr. Strangelove,” the movie is a cry of frustration. We know bad things are in store. We know we’re being lied to by politicians, the media, the sociopathic billionaires. But what can we do? We write earnest articles, we protest, we try to understand different points of view. For years we do this, and the machine rolls on. Sometimes we just need to rear back and laugh at all the jackassery.

* * *

Noyo River Bridge, 1922

* * *


Hi, there. Marco here. Deadline to email your writing for tonight's (Friday night's) MOTA show is about 6pm.. If you're not done with it, whatever it is, send it when it's done and I'll read it on the radio next week. Text-only, in the body of an email, please; I'm on dialup today. It's true that I can read fresh email later on, during the show, but I usually forget to look then, so go ahead, if you feel like it.

Or call during the show and read your work in your own voice. I'll be in the clean, well-lighted back room of KNYO's storefront studio at 325 N. Franklin, where the number is 1-(707) 962-3022. If there'll be swears, please wait until after 10pm, to not agitate the weasels.

Tonight I think Kent Wallace will call from small-town Vietnam, where he's teaching young people to speak American (New Jersey brash) English, using his own short stories and plays as practice text. And Bruce Broderick is also especially welcome, on the subject of the latest and ongoing huge-money real estate shenanigan in town. Shenanigans are always considered in plural, but in this case it's really more of a monolithic shenanigan, isn't it. The shenanigan in the room.

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

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

Besides all that, there you'll find a hoopla of educational whisht and piffle to illume your inner eye until showtime, or any time, such as:

"The Devil is bored. He goes back to Earth in a magic elevator. He surprises two sewer workers, disguises himself as a city man, and spreads improbable events: a quarrel with a coachman, altercation with a city sergeant, mystification of a barman, quid pro quo with couples... He's trapped in a cage with a young woman, and returns to hell. Surprise, the young woman is Madame Devil who was disguised by jealousy." (1907, black and white, 10 min.)

The clients who rushed in and, in one go, cleaned her out of hands entirely, freaked her out, but in a good way.

And Japanese gas attack posters.

— Marco McClean,,

* * *

Trapper and Pelts, Comptche

* * *


by James Kunstler

What you’re actually seeing in the rhetorical hoo-ha over the January Sixth capitol riot is the main cattle-prod driving mob madness — fear of Covid-19 — losing its power to terrorize the public. The Party-of-Chaos put on a grand opera of lamentation Thursday to celebrate its unity in victim-hood — we wuz so traumatized by the riot! — but in the background, they can see their dearer dream of total vaccination — and total control of the population — fade in the winter mists.

This is the crisis of a managerial class that has lost its ability to manage anything, including all of us. Thus, the hysteria in the blue precincts of America, where they are concentrated. And, as I’ve averred before, the madness probably has its roots in the slow-motion train wreck of our techno-industrial economy. The managerial class can surely sense it and see it coming, but they don’t have a clue what to do about it. So, in desperate need of some signifying ritual, they’re left performing a grand-scale Chinese fire drill like drunken sophomores of yore — a flurry of pointless, attention-seeking activity.

You see, this total vaccination fantasy is meant to compensate for that inability to govern in a time of epic turbulence. It provides an illusion of control. But the obvious insanity of it stands out in the demonstrable facts that the vaccinations don’t work, and that they are racking up an impressive record of harming people. These two facts must be ignored by the vax-happy Blue Team, even as the immunizing and pretty harmless Omicron variant spreads speedily across the land conferring superior natural immunity on those who survive it — which is, functionally, everyone.

The virus looks like it’s on that ol’ exit ramp, but the disintegrating economy will still be with us, and no amount of political degeneracy disguised as virtue will stop it. We still have to manage our lives individually and collectively going through it. It’s going to be a tough slog. The federal government in its current iteration is looking like more of an impediment than a help to any of us. Its current hysterical flounderings send a clear message: You can’t depend on us to do anything right. Instead, select a favorable place to plant your flag, and figure out what you can do locally to rebuild some means of productive activity, fortify basic institutions of law, public safety, and money, and restore credible authority.

You will have to be nimble and resourceful. The Covid lockdowns of the past two years have destroyed many small businesses, but think of that as the tide going out before the blowback of a tsunami that will sweep away the large businesses next. The WalMarts, the automobile industry, the airlines, trucking,, major league sports, the fast-food empires, the oil industry, the mega-banks — all these systems have gone into speed-wobble and most of them will crash hard.

It’s an issue of scale. The broken giants will have to be replaced by lower-scaled systems for producing stuff, moving it, and selling it. That includes food, especially, by the way. How are you going to be part of that where you live? What role can you imagine yourself in? What are you good at? What do you dream of being good at? Can you assemble a social network for yourself? Do you have any ability to look after the public interest? Can you speak coherently? Do you mean what you say? Are you grounded morally in right-and-wrong? Can others depend on you to keep your word? These are the questions that will matter going forward, not whether you were vaccinated, or voted for Mr. Trump, or know the lyrics to God Bless America.

It looks like the disorders of economy and community are heading to center stage as the Covid-19 melodrama closes down. Since human nature is perverse, the current mass formation psychosis may transfer its energy onto new hobgoblins. But the mass of Americans — putting aside blue and red insignia for a moment — might simply be tired of lunacy. They may even begin to show some impatience with those who generate it, for instance the cable TV news channels. Some of the most practiced conveyors of lunacy are heading out the door in the months ahead. Joy Reid of MSNBC is reportedly on her way off-camera (not by choice), and a while back the redoubtably dishonest Rachel Maddow announced her exit for April of this year, probably in anticipation of all her beloved narratives falling apart.

Lunacy is exhausting. Soon enough, even the crazed governments of Euroland and Australia will suddenly drop their lockdowns and vaccination tyrannies as reality presses on the bubbles they occupy. In the face of the Omicron fade-out, they’ll turn 180-degrees and try to pretend that the episode of madness never happened. I doubt they will get away with it. Many politicians in these lands will be bum-rushed from office at the first opportunity.

Meanwhile, the prudent will save their energy to get through the rigors ahead and make plans for a changed economic landscape that will require all the classical virtues they can muster for creating a life worth living.

* * *

Mendo Logging Operation

* * *


(Sung to the tune of “Everybody Dance” by Nile Rodgers’ Chic, released in 1977)

Everybody Hang Mike Pence, do-do-do
Clap your hands, clap your hands
Everybody Hang Mike Pence, do-do-do
Wash your hands, wash your hands

Everybody Hang Mike Pence, do-do-do
Clap your hands, clap your hands
Everybody Hang Mike Pence, do-do-do
Wash your hands, wash your hands

Donald Trump always lets you down
Puts a frown on your face
Any time, any place
Rioting helps relieve the pain
Screws your mind, makes you angry again
Listen to those stomping feet
Pull down your pants and let go
But it don’t mean a thing
When you’re pooping & peeing
Bop-shoo-wa, bop-shoo-wa, bop-shoo-wa

Everybody Hang Mike Pence, do-do-do
Clap your hands, clap your hands
Everybody Hang Mike Pence, do-do-do
Wash your hands, wash your hands

Everybody Hang Mike Pence, do-do-do
Clap your hands, clap your hands
Everybody Hang Mike Pence, do-do-do
Wash your hands, wash your hands

Pissing all over the US Capitol floor
Just like GG Allin & the QAnon Shaman
Who found a prison cell in Oklahoma
Goose-stepping to our favorite tune
The good times always end too soon
Everybody’s vandalizing
Attack the Capitol Police, have some fun
Come on everybody, stop pooping & peeing
Wash your hands
Everybody’s screaming

Everybody Hang Mike Pence, do-do-do
Clap your hands, clap your hands
Everybody Hang Mike Pence, do-do-do
Wash your hands, wash your hands

Everybody Hang Mike Pence, do-do-do
Clap your hands, clap your hands
Everybody Hang Mike Pence, do-do-do
Wash your hands, wash your hands

— Jake Pickering, Arcata

* * *

Dr. Homer Wolfe, Albion, 1920

* * *


For months, Trump indicated that he was strongly considering pardoning NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, and considering a pardon for Assange as well. Yet he never did. Why?

by Glenn Greenwald

When Donald Trump vacated the White House on January 20, 2021, it became clear that he had refused to issue two pardons which many of his most ardent supporters were advocating and even expecting: one for the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, who has spent eight years in exile in Russia for revealing to American citizens that the Obama-era NSA was secretly and unconstitutionally spying en masse on their communications and other online activities, and Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder whose reporting in 2010 on grave crimes by the U.S. and its allies and in 2016 on the Clinton campaign were among the most consequential journalism stories of the last two decades. 

Trump's failure to pardon either of them fostered disappointment and anger in many circles — “Trump left the White House about as weak, cucked, and submissive as it's possible for a grown adult to scamper away,” I tweeted on that day, with an obviously considerable mix of each sentiment. That reaction was due to the fact that Trump himself had raised the possibility that he might pardon Snowden — infuriating everyone from Susan Rice to Liz Cheney — and was also actively considering a pardon for Assange. Given that it is virtually impossible to imagine any other U.S. president even remotely considering such a move, Trump seemed to be not just the best but the last chance for either of these two courageous dissidents to finally earn their freedom and be able to go home. That many of Trump's most trusted Congressional allies [such as Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Matt Gaetz (R-FL)] were strongly advocating for a pardon of one or both), and because Trump himself harbored so many valid personal reasons for wanting to confront these security state agencies — he had, as much as anyone, seen first-hand how pernicious and sinister these agencies can be, and what grave menaces they pose for American democracy — it was difficult for many people to understand why he did not pardon one or both of them.

This question was raised again last week when Candace Owens interviewed Trump at Mar-a-Lago and pressed him quite persistently on his rationale for failing to issue these pardons. It was the first time Trump had been publicly confronted about his decision not to do so, and Owens adeptly challenged him with all of the reasons she and many others believed he should have. Everyone can judge for themselves, but Trump appeared clearly chastened and uncharacteristically timid in explaining himself, insisting he was “very close” to pardoning one of them (Snowden) but ultimately suggesting that he "was too nice” to do it. 

The question that obviously emerges from that answer: too nice to whom? To the U.S. security services — the CIA, NSA and FBI — which had spent four years doing everything possible to sabotage and undermine Trump and his presidency with their concoction of Russiagate and other leaks of false accusations to their corporate media allies? Too nice to the war-mongering servants of the military-industrial complex in the establishment wings of both parties who were the allies of those security services in attempting to derail Trump's America First foreign policy agenda? Too nice to John Brennan, James Clapper and Susan Rice, the Obama-era security officials most eager to see both Assange and Snowden rot in prison for life because they exposed Obama's spying crimes and the Democrats’ corruption in 2016? Trump's “I'm too nice” explanation is, shall we say, less than persuasive.

* * *

Main Street, Mendocino


  1. Eric Sunswheat January 8, 2022

    RE: When passed, the current sales tax would increase from 1/8 of one percent to 1⁄4 of one percent.
    These funds will be for the libraries only, and cannot be used by any other County department or for any other County function.

    ->. The heritage shady oak tree hundreds of years old, on the north side property of the Ukiah County public library, was a few years ago, chainsawed and removed because it was either buckling the adjacent concrete sidewalk, and or determined to be partially rotted as determined by arborist, as a safe bet, since trees eventually decline and a branch may crash to earth.

    The tree sure looked healthy and enjoyable to sit under. What source of funds were used to remove this wide expansive canopy oak tree that provided cooling shade on the hottest summer day, with close by WI-FI to the library network, in an outdoor natural daylight environment?

    Other questions include:
    Why was not a replacement tree planted afterwards as promised prior to removal of existing tree?

    Why was the adjacent buckling concrete slab sidewalk, disrupted by the underneath oak tree roots, not ground flat with a concrete grinder, to make passage level for pedestrians with compromising mobility, instead of removing the learning tree?

    Why was the venerable old growth oak tree not trimmed by a certified arborist, and paid for with library funds, to make the tree safe for the nearby building structure, and library patrons enjoying the weather and social distancing?

    Is one of the answers to get rid of loitering outside of the library that was not impacting anyone indoors?

    Was the library system adminstration short sighted and oblivious to natural resources and benefit to its patrons, in a vain effort to repeal vagrants from its grounds with a scorched earth policy?

    Should voters blindly approve a renewed regressive tax measure without an accounting and audit of how the expiring sales tax collected funds were expended and or commingled, and for what purpose?

    If voters are going to not question rubber stamp approval for a renewed County library but now proposed, perpetual sales tax funding, without an accounting of how funds have already been spent, is the library system providing a service benefit enabling rational thought among its supporters that outweighs the cost, risks, and alternatives in terms of future planning and climate phase shift?

  2. Marmon January 8, 2022

    Good stuff from Kunstler and Taibbi today but I think the AVA reached an all time low with that Pickering poem. Good God Anderson, show some class.


    • Bruce Anderson January 8, 2022

      “Sorry, Jimbo,” Anderson said, choking back a sob. “I’ll try harder. I pwomise.”

    • Marshall Newman January 8, 2022

      Perhaps you would prefer something set to music…

      • Betsy Cawn January 9, 2022

        That farcical fracas is lots of fun. I wonder where Randy Rainbow has gone off to?

  3. Justine Frederiksen January 8, 2022

    I agree with the other reader’s post about the impromptu Joshua Bell concert in NYC. I too bristled at that story, and found it a perfect example of why we hold concerts: So that people who enjoy a particular type of music played by a particular person can pay for the privilege of hearing that music played in a particular time and place. I also bristle at the notion that the “free” concert was not appreciated enough because not as many people clapped or gave money in the subway as in the concert hall. I would argue that plenty of people walked by Mr. Bell in silent appreciation of what he was playing as a gift to them, and isn’t that the point of a gift: To give without expecting anything in return?

  4. George Hollister January 8, 2022

    Matt Taibbi on Trump:

    “It was no heroic storming of the Bastille. January 6th was a massive LARP that got out of hand. Trump has been around long enough for us to know his pattern as a serial line-crosser. Like a comedian, he’s always trying out new material, and if he gets the right reaction, he comes back with a bigger delivery next time. January 6th was Trump dipping a toe in the lake of strongman politics. The reason it wasn’t worse is because Trump has also been constantly mislabeled as a Hitler, Stalin, or Pinochet. The man has no attention span, no interest in planning or strategy, and most importantly, no ability to maintain relationships with the type of people who do have those qualities (like Steve Bannon). Even if he wanted to overturn “democracy itself” — I don’t believe he does, but let’s say — Trump has proven over and over he lacks the qualities a politician would need to make that happen. ”

    That’s pretty accurate. And Trump isn’t a politician in the first place. That’s why the working class likes him. There is more wisdom with the “uneducated” than the “educated” know. The rest of what Taibbi is saying is fairly accurate as well.

  5. Nathan Duffy January 8, 2022

    RE: Who Are The Magas? Well that’s an excellent description And a great conclusion “It’s simply not possible.”
    “The cat is out of the bag, I’m not gonna argue with you and you can’t reverse the 60’s” Is what I tell my conservative friends who can take it.

  6. Cotdbigun January 8, 2022

    WHO ARE THE MAGAS? They are white people who wish that black people were invisible again, that Mexicans were in Mexico, that women stood by their men, that gays were not having parades on television, that children addressed adults as Ma’am and Sir. This is what is meant by Making America Great Again. It isn’t possible and, to what I hope turns out to be a majority of US, undesirable. But a big slug of Whiteys are definitely going for it.
    Not sure that any research or thought was put into this observation, sure sounds like a hard core believer though. Maybe talking to a person that your ilk labels as MAGA might help, not sure but I’ll try. I, a Caucasian male prefer Trump over Biden so that makes me a MAGA , right?

    I have no wish for black or any other kind of people to be invisible nor do wish that Mexicans were banned from immigrating to this country. I don’t care about any gay parades or any alphabet group exercising their rights, except don’t change the towns name. The thing about the wife’s and ” the children” , I think this is where you got me, I do believe that the breakdown of the nuclear family is a problem and a major contributor to societies decay. Over 60 % black families are single parent households in Chicago and I believe that to be a root cause of the black on black violence . I’m not insinuating that the two parent household has to be heterosexual. I also know some other white people that voted for Trump (most of my friends are white) and I can’t think of any one of them that fits the ones you know.

    • Marmon January 8, 2022


      Don’t take it personal Cotdbigun, the Editor is having another off day.


    • chuck dunbar January 8, 2022

      An honest, frank response to our Editor as to how you see some issues in our country. Thank you, even though I don’t see things in the same way. Dialogue is a good thing and helps us understand our neighbors and others.

      • Stephen Rosenthal January 8, 2022

        Well Chuck, if he’d use his real name maybe we could take him seriously. Until then, just another anonymous troll.

        • Marshall Newman January 9, 2022


    • Rye N Flint January 8, 2022

      I agree with the MAGA stereotyping, judging from most Maga devotees I have met. I am a middle aged white guy, but definitely not a conservative. I think the label gets to the heart of what conservatives are trying to conserve. Which is obviously white supremacy, 1950’s white picket fence style, where people of color were supposed to be invisible.

      I really hope FtBragg changes it’s name so we don’t have to keep honoring confederate assholes that lost a war over racism that never even stepped foot in the town itself.

      I think we should give the land back to the native people and stop ruining it with a bunch of European better than thou B.S. #landback

    • Nathan Duffy January 8, 2022

      Thank you indeed it is a nuanced thing. I am a lefty and I identify with many of my maga brothers, its just that politics has become so BLUNTED in this society. I actually recall a period, I think it was mid 90’s when I realized that Conservatives were criticizing the same things as the people I was reading like Neil Postman and Jerry Mander decrying the loss of reason and the sacred in our society. I do cry for the loss of the family and congratulate your open ness for allowing alternative families, I have done the same. I think we are more similar that anyone knows.

  7. Joe January 8, 2022

    I remember when voting Democrat or Republican didn’t immediately get you tagged and bagged as a this or that sort of individual, Fascist for example. Maybe there was one issue or another that persuaded people to cross the lines and vote one way or another. This polarization prevents meaningful change from happening in society because it turns into a struggle for raw power which allows the entrenched interests to prosper at the expense of the rest of society. The existing political parties have created a political void for centrists but are so powerful they prevent any competing external parties from meaningful participation.

    • Kirk Vodopals January 8, 2022

      One must be aware of their own contributions to the polarizations and not turn everything into a religious war

  8. Lazarus January 8, 2022

    Since being arrested, Mr. Evers has received more in-depth interviews than all the County Supervisors put together in a year. And, in my opinion, the media is painting him as a semi-sympathetic character. Mr. Evers’s survival skills seem indirectly admired, and his excuses for his lawlessness are featured. And the attempted murder of a Deputy Sheriff is denied by Evers. Although, he does admit to firing a weapon in the air. Not good.
    Regardless of what happens with Mendo Justice, Mr. Evers is getting his 15 minutes of fame.
    And who knows, could a book or movie deal come along?
    Welcome to the jungle,

    • Joe January 8, 2022

      Makes me wonder what the public’s attitude will be if the economy continues to devolve and there is a 100 Red Beards running around in the woods . I’m not convinced by his “hunger” story anyone can go to the food bank and get a bunch of groceries but if the food banks start to break down look out.

      • Kirk Vodopals January 8, 2022

        We got a long ways to go for that reality considering that a huge portion of mendoland makes their annual living from wine, weed and outside tourist dollars.

    • Rye N Flint January 8, 2022

      I’d read that book. This guy definitely has brought out romantic visions of the wild man archetype living free in the woods. Well, more like living, for free… I want 1% if that ends up being the book title.

  9. Jim Armstrong January 8, 2022

    Ed Notes knows Curtis James Jackson III. but never heard of Betty White.
    Never been harder to admit one reads the AVA.

    • Bruce Anderson January 8, 2022

      Who’s Curtis James Jackson III?

      • Jim Armstrong January 8, 2022

        I really don’t know how to answer that.
        Better Google him.
        Or use the Search feature above.

        • Bruce Anderson January 8, 2022

          Another learning experience just today, Jim. I had the vague idea that Taj Mahal — not the structure — was a bunch of people, a hippie band from the sixties. Coulda knocked me over with a whole bag of feathers but Taj Mahal is one guy! My discovery occurred when I accidentally landed on an edu-channel on my way to see what Wolf Blitzer was up to in his CNN Situation Room, and there he was, Taj Mahal, not a bunch of yowling hippies but one man! I lingered because I liked his sound, his lyrics, but over all I’m sticking with Sinatra and Freddy Fender.

          • Bruce McEwen January 8, 2022

            My wedding gift from my bride was a trip to Taj Mahal’s last concert at the Miner Auditorium, two years ago. A long-time fan, I knew his repertoire by heart and kept egging Taj on, from my up-front seat, to sing “(I’ll Be Glad When You’re Dead and Gone) You Rascal You,” but he declined. He said, “I’m in my Eighties, nobody rushes me.”

            I already have tickets to go see his protege, Keb Mo in April.

          • Jim Armstrong January 9, 2022

            Maybe I made some assumptions that confused this.
            I assumed Bruce Anderson was writing as “ED NOTES.”
            I assumed that everyone knew of Betty White.
            I assumed that when “ED NOTES” included lyrics from Curtis James Jackson III (AKA 50 Cent), he knew he had done so and assumed ED knew who that was.
            The way this exchange has gone so far doesn’t auger well for this addition’s helping.

        • Rye N Flint January 8, 2022

          50 Cent, bruh. Never heard of him? ;)

  10. Kirk Vodopals January 8, 2022

    Couldn’t agree more with Taibbi and Greenwald. Well put indeed.
    Can’t stand the Kunstler perspective that all the vaccinated are libtard sheeple and the unvaccinated are the enlightened rebels. Get over yourselves.. both sides. All you anti-maskers who get booted from the CO-OP can walk across the street to Safeway.
    The Fauci idolization is just as ridiculous. The emperor wears no clothes.
    We’re not out of the covid woods yet, but let’s all tone down the ridiculous rhetoric. Not everything is a religious war.

    • Marmon January 8, 2022

      I’ got the first two shots and I am now trying to find somewhere to get my booster. For anyone to think that it is just right wing nuts like me who are anti-vaxers is rediculous. The black community has the lowest rate of the vaccinated in the Nation. I don’t think very many of them are MAGA’s nor do I think that group that protested masking at the Coop were Trump supporters, not one MAGA hat in the whole bunch.

      In the last week or so we’ve learned that the cloth masks that many of us have been wearing are not effective against Omicron and neither are the vaccines. It appears that China is going to make another big killing on selling us N95 masks in the months coming. Biden himself is finally giving up on “vaccines only” to battle the virus and is now talking about therapeutics (although a little too late). It is here to stay, and we need to move on with our lives and learn to live with it and stop all the bickering.


      • Harvey Reading January 8, 2022

        Mostly hearsay and feel-good blather. Do you have any real evidence?

        • Harvey Reading January 8, 2022

          Incidentally, my Social Security annual statement arrived today. I will clear a little over $65 more per month, even taking the Medicare increase–thanks to fascist, privatizing scum–into account. I’m sure the demofascists will laugh with glee when the fasciuglicans privatize both systems, and their crocodile tears won’t be able to hide their smiles. Folks, we are fucked…and we let it happen. Aint we effen grand. Be a patriot, take out a robber baron!

    • Rye N Flint January 8, 2022

      Here here! I agree.

  11. Betsy Cawn January 8, 2022

    A word to any AVA readers who rely on KPFZ (Lake County Community Radio) for news and current local information, that the station announced yesterday morning a possible two-week hiatus on live programming, due to concerns about COVID transmission consequent to carriers of the virus — especially the latest variant, said to be even more transmissible — having been in the broadcast studio shortly before receiving positive test results.

    Station Manager Andy Weiss and Board of Directors Chair Olga Martin Steele made the announcement on one of the two hours regularly scheduled for Mrs. Steele’s public affairs programs. The basis of the decision is unknown to many of the volunteer program producers (like yours truly) and procedural decisions could evolve rapidly given changing circumstances.

    In response to the onset of the pandemic in 2020, the station instituted scheduling practices that allowed an hour between periods of studio occupancy by live broadcasters, filled with pre-recorded (original or repeated) programs, accompanied by a cleaning routine executed prior to exiting the premises. When the vaccines became available, the station adopted policies mandating the requirement for live broadcasters to be vaccinated and provide proof of same to station management.

    At this moment it is unclear what new procedures or practices may be ordained, or how they will be issued or when. With the “Omicron” variant driving anticipated surges in hospitalizations and labor shortages, and the County of Lake reliant on advisement from short-term contracted Public Health Officers, the absence of a qualified Public Health department director (currently the interim position is filled by the county’s Chief Administrative Officer) and local Public Health Officer renders the leadership of public health and safety agencies vacant as well.

    Add to that the absence of a county Office of Emergency Services (there were only two staff members to begin with; the junior position was vacated in mid-2021, and the Manager — whose intended retirement was known months before he left — vacated his position on October 31) and the apparent indifference to that fact by top county elected officials, and we have a government that is unable to recognize, let alone act upon, crisis conditions emerging from the impacts of climate change and ecosystem stresses clearly requiring a declaration of an emergency: CalFire has confirmed that over 60% of the trees on Cobb Mountain are dead or dying, infested with bark beetles, constituting a very high risk for spreading a potential ember cast to surrounding environments from 100-foot-tall desiccated timber stands that need to be removed as soon as possible, before the fire-friendly conditions return.

    The urgency of that monumental task is underscored by the recent massive wildfire in Colorado, started by 1-foot-tall dry grasslands, spread by 100-mile-an-hour winds, and feeding voraciously on the subdivisions in its path — in the middle of winter. Imagine what we are facing in the coming months of increasing temperatures, with equally well-known perils such as inadequate roads, fragile power and communication systems, understaffed work forces, and disabled populations.

    Poorly planned relief services, revealed in the relatively small wildfire disaster that occurred last August in the City of Clearlake, with fumbles evident at all levels (SO, DSS, ARC, COAD, NCO, and County Administration) — after the evacuation of occupants in highly flammable older mobile homes was accomplished by deploying all available law enforcement and fire/emt personnel in a very rapid door-to-door notification process — have not yet been reviewed by those agencies designated as responsible parties (including the Director of the county’s Office of Emergency Services, Sheriff Brian Martin) in an “after action” review that is also their legal responsibility.

    The county’s “Risk Reduction Authority” is fully informed of the critical capacity gaps and requirements disaster preparedness called for in the county’s approved Emergency Operations Plan, which newly includes an unannounced annex with the ominous title “Communications Failure,” separate from the pre-existing “Notifications” annex. (The Sheriff in a recent meeting stated that his department is not responsible for preparedness, and that it is the public’s responsibility to be ready and able to evacuate if so ordered, so it is not clear which agency is responsible for the overall conduct of emergency management processes if it’s not the Office of Emergency Services).

    And, while the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Risk Reduction Authority also preside in those same positions in the county’s Disaster Council, the knowledge gleaned by them in both venues never seems to make it back to the other members of the county’s Board of Supervisors, the Administration, and the public. Most importantly, the public’s means of being reached during emergencies — beyond receiving evac warnings or orders (dependent on operational receiving technology) are drastically reduced while the county’s only broadcaster of emergency management and disaster response news and information is out of commission.

    • Rye N Flint January 8, 2022

      Being a former Public Health worker for Mendo County, I can say that our care for Public Heath from CEO Carmel Angelo and company is treated with the same level of disrespect, but with a nice Mendo touch of nepotism and crony kick backs.

      Thanks for another great lake county update Betsy.

  12. Craig Stehr January 8, 2022

    Sitting here non-dualistically at The Garberville Public Library. Feel free to telephone Andy Caffrey at The Earth First! Media Center at (213) 842-3082 and congratulate him on successfully digitizing the entire Earth First! video archive and storing it in the cloud, thus preserving the origins of radical environmentalism on the planet earth. Secondly, I’d like to receive money to replace in my bank account the thousands I used to back up the effort. I’d like to go to Washington, D.C. for the 16th time and intervene in history. I accept money here: P.S. I am under no circumstances “thanking you in advance for your cooperation”. If you do not naturally value this, feel free to pack up your toys and start a space colony.

  13. Marmon January 8, 2022

    The shape of the omicron wave is becoming clearer

    “With cases rising, so is the number of patients in the hospital with Covid-19. But, at least so far, hospitalizations are not rising as rapidly as infections, lending credence to the theory that omicron leads to less severe disease, particularly for vaccinated people. Deaths have barely budged over the last month, with about 1,250 new deaths being reported every day as of January 3, essentially unchanged from the 1,125 daily average on December 3. While there is always a time lag between new reported cases and the data showing more serious illness, the evidence, including biological research findings, that omicron poses less of a threat to each individual patient is only growing.”


  14. Rye N Flint January 8, 2022


    Cannabis grower diverts 100 cubic feet per day of water, gets life in prison, life destroyed, made into an ethical monster and publicly paraded through the media as an example of pure evil.

    PG&E diverts 300 cubic feet per second of water and the crowd cheers hooray for massive environmental short sidedness and dependence on a limited resource. Nothing wrong here.

    Damn those Dams.

    • Kirk Vodopals January 8, 2022

      You might want to consider public versus private gains.. just playing devil’s advocate.. also, you can also that most progressives aren’t cool with pg&e diverting anything anymore.
      Playing the poor weed grower victim card ain’t going nowhere these days. It’s a tune that’s worn thin about as much as covid talk

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