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Mendocino County Today: September 10, 2012

Ferndale Field

FERNDALE HIGH SCHOOL'S football team is on probation this year for fan behavior. On several occasions, oafs have shouted racist insults at visiting teams and their coaches. Ferndale's school superintendent has reacted to the probation by — get this — banning “media” from the sidelines. The thinking seems to be that if media, all two of them, are sitting in the nearby stands they won't hear the racists, and if the media can't hear the racists they won't report the racism, and if they don't report the racism Ferndale's football team won't face sanctions because a couple of their fans are idiots. As is their superintendent of schools.

Downtown Ferndale

ODD PLACE, FERNDALE, a village of restored Victorians so tidy and fresh-scrubbed and silent you find yourself walking around on tiptoes. “Shhhhhhh. Don't wake up the Klan.”

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ONE REASON central Ukiah is so depressed-looking is the large number of vacant shop spaces, but the reason for the vacancies seems to be that certain landlords charge exorbitant rents for those spaces and can afford to simply sit on them empty if no suckers come along to rent.

Corner of Clay and State

There's a tumbledown structure on the southeast corner of W. Clay and S. State whose owner wants $3,900 a month for it, which is impossible for most small businesses.

Dirty Dog Day Building, Pre-paint job

But down the street the Dirty Dog Day Care Center has a fresh coat of paint and looks ready to welcome dogs dirty or clean. Or is it daycare for grubby, especially truculent children? Or both?


IT'S BEEN SOME TIME since I've seen my old friend Mike Sweeney, Mendocino County's garbage bureaucrat and easily Mendocino County's most interesting personality, not that the guy has much of a personality in the ordinary sense. But if he fixes his cold, dead stare on you I'd suggest that you rig a mirror to a long pole and check the undercarriage on your vehicle before you drive it anywhere because you're in serious trouble, Bub. So, there I was enjoying a chat with the always merry and bright Dave Smith at Dave's essential Mulligan's Books when who should walk by but the former Stanford Red Guard and unindicted car bomber himself, on his way to Local Flavor just next door. I noted that Mike wasn't carrying his own coffee cup as he was the last time I saw him, writing then that since his perpetually pending felony is pegged to DNA identification, Mike, who thinks of almost everything, never leaves behind so much as a microbe of his telltale bodily fluids. Timing my exit from Mulligan's to encounter him on the sidewalk so I could say hello as he exited Local Flavor, I, betraying my pure joy at encountering him, fairly shouted, “Mike! How are you? So good to see you!” But darned if he pretended not to see me and quickly disappeared into the Lee Harvey Building where he keeps an office at the end of a hall where he has the option of three exits.

(Conspiracy buffs will understand the ref to Lee Harvey as they recall that double-entrance place in New Orleans where Lee Harvey Oswald hung out at a building that had at least two doors where Lee Harv walked in one door a conservative ex-Marine and walked out the other as a Fair Play For Cuba lefty.)

McKinley Building, Ukiah
Newman Building, New Orleans (c.1961)

The last time I ran into Mike Sweeney I had a transforming effect on the guy. That time he was walking east, me west. I began a delighted wave when he was still half a block away. Sweeney immediately crossed the street where, and I'm not exaggerating here, his face turned truly frightful, instantly becoming as black as an old bruise, and his purposeful, confident, Stanford guy gait suddenly became a stiff-legged plod as if he were praying to himself, “Can't I please just torture this guy to death or at least blow him up like I did my ex-wife?” I get plenty of negative reactions in Ukiah, but I'd never had one quite that, that… emotional. Lots of people would just as soon I were dead, but very few, I daresay, yearn to be the agent of my destruction! I've never seen anything like Sweeney that day. I thought he was going to implode and I'd have to explain to both the police and one of Sweeney's HazMat clean-up teams how the guy had just seemed to self-immolate at my appearance. A young girl walking behind me exclaimed, “Gawd. What was that all about?”

THE SUPERVISORS COMMENCE budget talks Monday and Tuesday, flying blind because some large costs for the 2012-13 fiscal year aren't yet totaled. Health care costs for County employees and non-Medicare-eligible retirees continue to rise, but CEO Carmel Angelo says she doesn't anticipate layoffs but does anticipate a balanced budget.

IN RESPONSE to ongoing complaints from her Redwood Valley neighbors and the horse associations of two counties, a beleagured Redwood Valley woman has again eluded animal cruelty charges as DA David Eyster last week issued this statement: “My Chief Investigator, Captain Smallcomb, and a veterinarian did a site inspection. The conclusion at that time was there was insufficient evidence to support a criminal prosecution. The opinions of the ‘horse people’ go back many years (beyond the Statute of Limitations) and their current opinions of ‘abuse’ run counter to what the vet concluded to my investigator at the scene.”


THE BILLY NORBURY MURDER TRIAL has again been delayed, this time until October. Norbury, 33, is white. He's accused of murdering his black Redwood Valley neighbor, Jamal Andrews, the night of January 24th.

NORBURY is represented by Al Kubanis. Kubanis told Judge Behnke that he needed a continuance because his “scientific expert” had been serving on a jury in Alameda County. Kubanis also informed the judge that he anticipated a trial longer than the ten days estimated because, he suggested, Norbury's sanity would be in play. The “scientific expert,” it would seem, is the usual defense-friendly hired gun.

IN JULY, NORBURY changed his not guilty plea to not guilty by reason of insanity (commonly called an NGI plea). When an NGI plea is entered, the court can appoint two or three doctors to evaluate the defendant. Kubanis said previously that he found information in Norbury's divorce file that spurred the need for a psychiatric evaluation.

AS OF JUNE, 46.7 million Americans were drawing food stamps, 3.3% over June of last year. 47% of recipients are children, 8% are elderly. Natch, the Republicans are claiming the program costs too much.

ACCORDING to one of the endless wine stories appearing in local print media, this one in the Chronicle of Wednesday, September 5th, the most coveted California vineyards are priced at an average of $175,000 to $300,000 an acre in Napa County; $75,000 to $125,000 in Sonoma. The value of Mendo grape acreage was not listed, but the value of our wine grapes, on average, was placed at $1,237 a ton. Last time we checked, it cost between $30,000 to $40,000 to plant an acre of grapes.

MEMO OF THE WEEK: Vikings Punter to Maryland State Delegate re: Gay Marriage


(Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo has spoken out in favor of a Maryland ballot initiative that would legalize gay marriage. Yahoo has published a letter that Maryland state delegate Emmett C. Burns Jr. wrote last week to Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti, urging him to “inhibit such expressions from your employee.” This is Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe's response to Burns.)


Dear Emmett C. Burns Jr.,

I find it inconceivable that you are an elected official of Maryland's state government. Your vitriolic hatred and bigotry make me ashamed and disgusted to think that you are in any way responsible for shaping policy at any level. The views you espouse neglect to consider several fundamental key points, which I will outline in great detail (you may want to hire an intern to help you with the longer words):

1. As I suspect you have not read the Constitution, I would like to remind you that the very first, the VERY FIRST Amendment in this founding document deals with the freedom of speech, particularly the abridgment of said freedom. By using your position as an elected official (when referring to your constituents so as to implicitly threaten the Ravens organization) to state that the Ravens should “inhibit such expressions from your employees,” more specifically Brendon Ayanbadejo, not only are you clearly violating the First Amendment, you also come across as a narcissistic fromunda stain. What on earth would possess you to be so mind-boggingly stupid? It baffles me that a man such as yourself, a man who relies on that same First Amendment to pursue your own religious studies without fear of persecution from the state, could somehow justify stifling another person's right to speech. To call that hypocritical would be to do a disservice to the word. Mindfucking obscenely hypocritical starts to approach it a little bit.

2. “Many of your fans are opposed to such a view and feel it has no place in a sport that is strictly for pride, entertainment, and excitement.” Holy fucking shitballs. Did you seriously just say that, as someone who's “deeply involved in government task forces on the legacy of slavery in Maryland”? Have you not heard of Kenny Washington? Jackie Robinson? As recently as 1962 the NFL still had segregation, which was only done away with by brave athletes and coaches daring to speak their mind and do the right thing, and you're going to say that political views have “no place in a sport”? I can't even begin to fathom the cognitive dissonance that must be coursing through your rapidly addled mind right now; the mental gymnastics your brain has to tortuously contort itself through to make such a preposterous statement are surely worthy of an Olympic gold medal (the Russian judge gives you a 10 for “beautiful oppressionism”).

3. This is more a personal quibble of mine, but why do you hate freedom? Why do you hate the fact that other people want a chance to live their lives and be happy, even though they may believe in something different than you, or act different than you? How does gay marriage, in any way shape or form, affect your life? If gay marriage becomes legal, are you worried that all of a sudden you'll start thinking about penis? “Oh shit. Gay marriage just passed. Gotta get me some of that hot dong action!” Will all of your friends suddenly turn gay and refuse to come to your Sunday Ticket grill-outs? (Unlikely, since gay people enjoy watching football too.)

I can assure you that gay people getting married will have zero effect on your life. They won't come into your house and steal your children. They won't magically turn you into a lustful cockmonster. They won't even overthrow the government in an orgy of hedonistic debauchery because all of a sudden they have the same legal rights as the other 90% of our population — rights like Social Security benefits, childcare tax credits, Family and Medical Leave to take care of loved ones, and COBRA healthcare for spouses and children. You know what having these rights will make gays? Full-fledged American citizens just like everyone else, with the freedom to pursue happiness and all that entails. Do the civil-rights struggles of the past 200 years mean absolutely nothing to you?


In closing, I would like to say that I hope this letter, in some small way, causes you to reflect upon the magnitude of the colossal foot in mouth clusterfuck you so brazenly unleashed on a man whose only crime was speaking out for something he believed in. Best of luck in the next election; I'm fairly certain you might need it. — Sincerely, Chris Kluwe

PS. I've also been vocal as hell about the issue of gay marriage so you can take your “I know of no other NFL player who has done what Mr. Ayanbadejo is doing” and shove it in your close-minded, totally lacking in empathy piehole and choke on it. Asshole.

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