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Mendocino County Today: Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022

Dry Weekend | 354 New Cases | Suspicious Death | Active Cases | CubbyholeGate | Trailer Theft | School News | Pomo Homelands | Eagle Tree | Hospital Board | Melburne CA | Consolidation Talk | Brass Band | Pre TV | Sandbar Breaching | Handyman Blues | KNYO Website | Mayhew 76 | Angelo Comments | Fur Sale | Water Table | Team Pollard | Tin Horns | Ed Notes | Streetscape Update | How Long | Water Supply | Kid Billy | Tabatha Complicit | 1925 Students | FB Promotion | Overposters | Covid Anonymous | Giusti Waiting | Adventist Email | Yesterday's Catch | Tent Class | Invisible Cat | Hoffman Birthday | War Chances | Dog Power | Emergency Substitutes | Bircher Paranoia | Us | One-Party State | Oil Production | Wives Wanted | Marco Radio | Climate Reality | Peak Insane | Niners/Cowboys

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DRY WEATHER will prevail across northwest California through the weekend into early next week. Cool mornings with areas of valley fog will be followed by mild and mainly sunny afternoons accompanied by light or calm winds. (NWS)

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354 NEW COVID CASES reported in Mendocino County yesterday afternoon.

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On Tuesday, January 11, 2022 at 10:06 AM the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Dispatch Center received a call regarding a suspicious situation near the intersection of Parducci Road and Christy Lane in Ukiah.

A passing motorist reported seeing an unresponsive person laying near the roadway which prompted the call to the dispatch center.

Sheriff's Deputies responded to the area and located a deceased female adult who was subsequently identified as being Alyssa Mae Sawdey, a 22 year-old female from Ukiah.

Alyssa Sawdey

Sheriff's Detectives were summoned to the scene and began an investigation into the circumstances of Sawdey's death.

On Wednesday, January 12, 2022 a forensic autopsy was conducted on Sawdey's body and official results of that autopsy are pending Blood-Alcohol/Toxicology analysis which are expected to take several weeks before the results are returned to the Sheriff's Office.

At this time Sawdey's death is considered suspicious in nature and the investigation into her death is ongoing at this time.

There is no further information available for public release, at this time due to the ongoing investigation.

Anyone who has information that could assist Sheriff's Detectives are urged to contacted the Sheriff's Office Tip-Line by calling 707-234-2100 or the WeTip anonymous crime reporting hotline at 800-782-7463.

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ACTIVE COVID CASES in Mendocino County (by ZIP Code, current as of 1/10/22)

 ZIP Code Community Active Cases
 95437 Fort Bragg56
 95469Potter Valley12
 95470 Redwood Valley19
 95482 Ukiah220
 95490 Willits80
 All other ZIPs  0-5

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There is a big problem in the County Clerk’s [sic] office. A lot of steps in the legal process require the "service" of documents and oftentimes the service of documents is so important that it requires a declaration under penalty of perjury that the notice has been mailed.

The clerk's office in Ukiah has apparently been following a practice of declaring under penalty of perjury that the document has been mailed, but instead of mailing the document they have put a document in a cubbyhole box at the Clerk's office where they have a cubbyhole for each attorney and which practice would require the attorney to visit the clerk's office (1) to see if there are any outstanding notices; and (2) to retrieve them by hand. The cubbyholes are not the legal equivalent of the US mail. If the attorney does not visit the clerk's office in time the notice is ineffective for its intended purpose of providing actual notice. That is why the notices are required by law to be mailed.

Enclosed is a public filing by the defendants in the case of Soto v. McCullough where the attorneys on the other side seek relief based upon the above described practice.

I also enclosed a letter that I sent a couple of days prior to their filing and which by coincidence the other side learned of within three days and used the concept expressed in my letter to unsuccessfully seek relief from filing something late.

You will see on the second page of my letter that the problem was a bit more nuanced and problematic where Judge Nadel took the very rare step of vacating what is called a "submission," (a formal declaration that the court will receive no further information and will make a decision based on what is already submitted).

In this particular case the notice was also unusual in that it was set in the same week, an unusually short period of time for setting a hearing, and further unusual in that it was e-mailed to the Ukiah attorney and purportedly mailed to my office in Willits. I say purportedly because it was never received in the mail by us and the original of the notice was found in our attorney box at the clerk's office a month later with no postage on it.

Perhaps it was just a comedy of errors, but even my dog Pigfat would know the difference between being stumbled over and being kicked. Because the case remains pending I will spare you the details. However, I will not be supporting Judge Nadel's first appearance before the voters in his June after having been appointed to her position.

For now, there is a big problem in the clerk's office and it remains to be seen whether it will be fixed.

Yours very truly,

Christopher J. Neary, Attorney at Law


ED NOTE: Mr. Neary surely intended “Court,” not “County” Clerk, as County Clerk Bartolomie makes even clearer: 

“The Mendocino County Clerk Recorder does not have ‘cubbies’ of any kind, nor do we hold recorded documents for attorneys (or anyone) to pick up their recorded documents in our office; Is there a possibility that Mr. Neary is talking about the ‘Court Clerk’ (Superior Court Clerk) rather than the ‘County Clerk Recorder’?”

So we asked Court Executive Officer Kim Turner about the situation. Ms Turner replied:

Mr. Anderson,

Thank you for your inquiry. Mr. Neary brought to my attention an inadvertent procedural error that one of our court staff was making with respect to mail service. We immediately directed the clerk to correct this error and it was fully addressed immediately. I told Mr. Neary that I appreciated that he brought this to our attention.

As you may know, the court has gone from paper filing to e-filing and paperless files in the last six months. Whenever sea changes occur in long-standing practices, there can be some confusion. This is what happened in Mr. Neary’s situation. 

The attorney boxes in the Clerk’s Office are being phased out for most attorneys, except those who still perform paper filings and exchange other ancillary documents with the court.

I hope this is helpful.

Kim Turner

Court Executive Officer

Mendocino Superior Court

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Dear Anderson Valley Community,

It has been so good to welcome our students and staff back to campus after the holiday break. We have had some staffing challenges for a variety of reasons including delayed travel, illness, and injury, I am hopeful that life will return to normal soon.

The testing pools are doing their job. We did have some pools come up positive in both samples we took. We also detected a few cases based on individual rapid tests outside of the pool. Those students in those classes were all individually rapid tested in that class. This system works. We can’t eradicate Covid, we can only mitigate it. I would like to thank all of the staff members who have pitched in to cover other classroom activities. I think Jim and Cymbre for their work in managing the testing at their site. It takes a village to keep a small system like ours going, when we have just a few people out. Your village is strong, and they care about your kids.

In other news, I know that the gym at the high school is very cold. We had catastrophic failure of the four heaters. Even if I placed the order today, we could not receive heaters until April or May. We have received preliminary findings from the state to pay for a substantial replacement cost, so, we are going through the submittal process at this time. Replacement of the three heaters is about $60,000. The state will pay 60%. It is worth the effort to go through the process and free up that money for the kids.

I want to take a moment and just review dress code with you. I will admit, I am old school. Respect to adults and peers and for kids to respect themselves is a core value. Please remind your students that pants, and this is primarily for our young men, need to be at the top of the hip bone or above. Our young ladies should not be wearing ripped jeans that show significant portions of the thighs, and tops that have straps of less than 1 inch or show any cleavage. For our younger students, please be mindful that footwear is appropriate for PE. That is a safety issue, and I have actually seen students lose teeth because they tripped while wearing sandals during blacktop activities.

On an exciting note, the board of trustees voted to proceed with a resolution placing a $13 million infrastructure general Obligation Bond on the June ballot. I am happy to discuss any of our infrastructure needs with anyone that would like more information. We have sixty year old facilities. It is time.... My cell is 707–6 84–1017.

I am also seeking partnership donors for a re-development of our high school shop building. I need about $500,000 to do the required work. If you know any donors that would be willing to take a tour and talk with me about this, please let me know. I have secured some other funding for it as well. I know the numbers seem staggering. Public school construction is so fat with requirements, such as prevailing wage, that construction projects that seem relatively simple are costly with the required code upgrades. I want the best for the kids. We are below what other school districts in the county offer their students with regard to our facilities. I need some help.

Good news is there is no school on Monday. We will see your student on Tuesday. Please be mindful about wearing your mask and keeping your child home if they show any symptoms.

Be well!

Louise Simson


Anderson Valley Unified School District

Cell: 707-684-1017

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by Justine Frederiksen

Unable to gain access to a tree that several concerned citizens claimed has actively nesting Bald Eagles using it, the Pacific Gas and Electric company Friday reported that it would not be cutting down a large pine tree in eastern Mendocino County that the utility had designated as a hazard requiring removal.

PG&E spokeswoman Deanna Contreras said Friday morning that an “in-house” expert had determined the large pine tree on Ridgeway Highway in Potter Valley was “dying” and in danger of falling into nearby power lines. Therefore, in order to fulfill its mandate of protecting public safety, Contreras said the utility was attempting to “remove the hazard tree” this week.

(photo courtesy of Keri Ann Bourne)

She confirmed there was a Bald Eagle nest in the tree, but she described it as having been deemed “inactive,” and that the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife had given the utility until Jan.15 to remove the tree without interfering with nesting season. If the tree were removed by Jan.15, she said, “that gives the birds time to move to other nests in the area.”

A group hoping to stop removal of the tree has been gathering near it most days this week, and when asked Friday morning why the tree had not yet been removed, Contreras said the tree cutters were still trying to gain access.

About 12:30 p.m. Friday, she reported that “PG&E was unable to reach agreement with the property owner and the tenants, and was unable to gain access” to the tree. Contreras reported that the utility would not be removing the tree at this time, and would employ other mitigation measures until August, when the critical nesting period had ended.

(Ukiah Daily Journal)

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There is a Marine term for what is happening with the Mendocino Coast Health Care District Board, but it is not suitable for a family newspaper. The Heath Care District Board is charged with planning how to meet the 2030 seismic retrofit or new construction deadline, without which we will have no hospital on the Coast What I have observed of the last several meetings is horrifying. Several Board members behave like poorly raised children whose gender rivalry has devolved into an all out boy-girl war. There appear to be no operating rules of order, Roberts or otherwise. The current Chair seems singularly unequipped for the task. The Brown Act is all but ignored. No minutes are being taken or published. Currently, there is no treasurer responsible for the District's multi-million dollar finances. The substantive work of the Board has virtually ground to a halt. 

Four of the five seats on the Heath Care District Board are open in the June election. We have an opportunity to remake the Board and chart a course to maintain a hospital on the Coast. We need committed group of people who: understand that quality health care is critical to the economic and social future of the Coast, have proven track records of fiscal responsibility, are computer literate, have good negotiating skills and are team players. Filing opens on February 14 and closes March 11. A committee of concerned citizens will be seeking qualified candidates to rebuild the Health Care District Board. 

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Melburne, California (west of Comptche)

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GJERDE V. CLIFTON on Financial Office Consolidation

Inland Mendocino Democratic Club Monthly Meeting: Thursday, January 13 @ 6:30 PM

At the December 14, 2021 meeting, the Board of Supervisors adopted a County Ordinance For The Purpose Of Consolidating The Offices Of The Auditor-Controller And The Treasurer-Tax Collector. 

This ordinance would repeal, add and amend specified sections of the Mendocino County Code to consolidate the offices of the Auditor-Controller and the Treasurer-Tax Collector into a single office, the Auditor-Controller-Treasurer-Tax Collector, which consolidation would be operative on January 2, 2023. The ordinance also applies updated office qualifications and continuing education requirements to the office of the auditor that are consistent with State law. 

AYES: Supervisors McGourty, Mulheren, Gjerde, and Williams 

NOES: Supervisor Haschak 

Join us, Estelle Clifton, Linda Bailey and Dan Gjerde on Thursday, January 13 for a presentation and discussion of this recent Board of Supervisors action, how it was adopted, and how it affects you and our county. 

Contact us for the Zoom login:

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Mendocino Brass Band, 1898

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Daisy Kelley McCallum told of her visit to Rome and of her audience with Pope Pius IX. Club members sang selections from Donizetti’s opera, ‘Lucrezia Borgia,’ and read the story of the opera ‘Il Trovatore’ with musical selections played on the graphophone.”

On this day in Mendocino history…

January 14, 1920 - Stella West and Hattie Gauthier made the record catch of the season when they hooked a 20-pound salmon near the Boom, playing him for nearly half an hour before the big fish exhausted himself and could be drawn into the boat. It was a rare thing to capture a fish of this size in Big River, although salmon weighing as much as 25 pounds were frequently caught in Mendocino Bay.

Twelve years earlier, Stella had made a more noteworthy contribution to the community. She was one of several women who met two or three mornings a week to play tennis. Feeling that physical activity needed the balance of mental stimulation, Stella decided that the members of the group should also exercise their minds by study.

On October 30, 1908, Stella West, Olive Brown, Grace Fisher, Emma Coombs, Nellie Murray, Laura Lammers, and Edith Peirsol organized the Mendocino Study Club for "the highest intellectual and spiritual development of its members through avenues of study or works that seemed profitable.” Stella was elected to be the club’s first president. The ladies group met every 2 weeks at the homes of its members to discuss the Bay View Reading Course, a study guide by a Michigan lawyer to benefit adults who could not avail themselves of a college education.

The first year’s study was on the history and art of Italy. Details of several meetings were reported in the Beacon. Daisy Kelley McCallum told of her visit to Rome and of her audience with Pope Pius IX. Club members sang selections from Donizetti’s opera, “Lucrezia Borgia,” and read the story of the opera “Il Trovatore” with musical selections played on the graphophone.

Over the years, the Mendocino Study Club evolved into a community service organization and is now the oldest civic organization on the Mendocino Coast.

Gathering of the Presbyterian Missionary Society held at the home of Mrs. Evangeline Reep, June 1923. Pictured left to right: Mrs. Reep, Mrs. Stella West, Mrs. Kate Morgan, Mrs. Eliza Grindle, Olive Brown, Nellie Hitchen, Mrs. Lizzie Law, Vernie Jamison Brown. Children: Harold Reep, Merna Brown, Allen Law, Grace Maxwell, Bertha Reep. (Kelley House Collection, Kelley House Photographs)

Ladies of the Afternoon by Jean Droz and Jane Barnes. This Kelley House Museum Review covers the history of the Mendocino Study Club over its 100 years of club activites and community projects. 20 pages / $12.

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FOUR YEARS AGO aerial views of the Navarro River Mouth when it had just opened a new channel through the sandbar at Navarro State Beach.

RIGHT NOW in January 2022, thanks to ample rain since the end of October 2021, the river mouth has been open for most of the winter and the river is flowing freely into the ocean.

The Navarro River mouth sandbar finally breached naturally early Monday Jan. 8, 2018, letting backed up river water flow into the Pacific, and allowing reopening of Hwy. 128. Due to continued wet weather through the week, today Friday the 12th was the first chance I had to get aerial photos of the new channel through the sandbar. Here are four views taken with a DJI Phantom 4 Advanced flying camera. It was low tide, with a strong current flowing out through the new channel. The lower five miles or so of the river is a tidal estuary, with sea water flowing in through the channel during high tide.

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I have tried so hard to get someone to come over and work on several things in and outside of my house. So far everyone I've contacted either doesn't call back, starts the work and doesn't finish or promises they'll start and then don't show up. What can I do?? Very frustrated.

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KNYO of Fort Bragg, 107.7 FM from Cleone to Caspar and online now has a jazzy new web page at, of course! Rebuilt by Webmaster Chris Dunn, with a new design and 3 local webcams that I check when I want to see what the conditions are on the bluffs for a walk or bike ride. Check it out!

Mark your calendar for our second July 4th Community Bash at the Caspar Community Center. It will be on -- wait for it… -- JULY 4th! 

Stay tuned for details.

Thanks to our Community!

Bob Young <>

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J.D. Mayhew, Mendo, 1976

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[1] Angelo leaves behind a deeply damaged county government that is far more damaged than the one she was elevated to lead. Prudent reserves are good, but what has been set aside is actually a disservice as it’s a huge volume of money that went unspent on community services, safety, economic development, roads etc. Angelo has used the pandemic, wildfires, PSPS to obscure her incompetence. She’s simply too busy “saving the County” through crisis management or arguing with PG&E to work on actual management of the organization. She has failed to bring in qualified people to actually manage these events. When she does step in on management matters, its always to create conflict, for example with the Sheriff or Auditor. Its all an unnecessary distraction to keep people from judging her on what she’s actually responsible for. She has gotten away with this for years and years, Board member after Board member. How? The revisionism in this article is funny. She has somehow turned employee morale around and listens to the employees? Hitting the bottle much? She states the County was a jobs program, as though that’s something that will help with morale as well. But again she’s wrong. When she became CEO the county had about 1,200 employees. Today? They’re trying to bring it to 1,400. So if it is just a jobs program and she’s the butcher, she’s done one hell of a job trimming that down! Also, it should be clear that Angelo is leaving behind million dollar lawsuits left and right for her bad judgment. That being said, I do think she manages crisis well, but that shouldn’t be a CEO’s job. Where are her qualified people? Why is she so averse to people with actual qualifications? Did she beat Darcie Antle to the punch by resigning a couple months earlier than expected?

[2] Oh residents of Mendocino County you better be really aware. Hopefully no one is appointed to the position before she leaves by her choosing. Foolishness if we announce with a shiny press release of her hand-picked muse appointed with much fanfare. Carmel rose herself to the highest paid Mendocino County staff member and retirement recipient ever! Hopefully, we can find a brain on the board of supes, even one would do!!! Can we get several candidates on such short notice that can be evaluated by the Board of Supes and the public before they are appointed? We do not need more of the same hand fed puppets delivering stale soft serve watered down ice cream. HELLO… Our county is in crisis from the poor upper management. I can’t see any problems with a self appointment by Carmel and no accountability said no one ever.

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Water table up 59 inches from low point

Good news to share!

I'm happy to report that I just measured the water level in my well and found the water table has come up nearly 5 ft. (4 ft. 11 in.) from the lowest point, recorded Oct. 25 2021. Most of that gain (39 in.) has happened just over the past two weeks. 

The well is old, hand dug in the 1950s, 4 ft. diameter, 26 ft. deep, located 3 mi. inland on Little River Airport Rd., at 622 ft. elevation on level land in the transitional pygmy forest soil type. 

The new measurement shows the static water table because the well pump has been turned off since 12/27, while we supplied the house from a new storage tank installed in September. 


N. Wilson

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Fort Bragg Youth Baseball, 1979

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December 24, 1894 - Saloon owner Gus Semmler distributed dozens of tin horns (small, loud, cheaply-made trumpets) to the young boys of the town. The townsfolk were not pleased. The Beacon raged, “Semmler has but one arm, but if he ever again afflicts the public with the horns, he will be further crippled by the people.”

Gus had lost his arm while working for the lumber company in 1883. He continued to work as a tallyman at the Point after his accident, but in November 1887, he opened his own business in Cy Galbraith’s former saloon.

The community wasn’t simply incensed by the obnoxious noise of the tin horns. The unpleasant racket caused what could have been a serious accident. On the day after Christmas, Edith Nichols went for a drive, and upon her return she commenced unhitching the horse by first taking off the bridle. At that moment, one of the bugling boys suddenly appeared on the scene. The horse, understandably frightened, took off at a run, knocking Miss Edith down. The wheels of the buggy rolled over her, but fortunately she suffered only minor injuries. The horse was captured before hurting himself or the buggy. The Beacon concluded that, “Edith Nichols has probably learned not to begin at the front end of a horse to unhitch him.”

West Main, Old Mendocino (Kelley House Collection, Kelley House Photographs)

Photo: Mendocino's Main Street Before Prohibition, c. 1905-1908. Photographic postcard of Main Street in Mendocino looking westward. On the north side, edged by a long boardwalk, are the business buildings. The large two-story building with an enormous sign on its eastern wall was "Gus' Saloon." Behind it is a 30-foot-high water tower and windmill. It was once owned by Charles Gustavus "Gus" Semmler, a former tallyman at the Point, who had purchased Cy Galbraith's saloon in 1887 when Cy Galbraith was accidentally killed after falling down his stairs. By the time this photo was taken, Gus, too, was dead, and the building became a store. This building was located on the lot where Ocean Quilts is now and was demolished in the 1970s. 

More historical photos of Mendocino available in “Perley Maxwell’s Mendocino,” by Bruce Levene. Includes the Mendocino High School Photography Students 2002 Then & Now Project. $25.

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UP AGAINST THE WALL, MOFO: More than a year after a maga horde stormed the U.S. Capitol, federal prosecutors hit a handful of people they portrayed as key perpetrators of the riot with a new charge: seditious conspiracy. Stewart Rhodes, the 56-year-old founder of the Oath Keepers, and ten other affiliates of the far-right military group, were charged Thursday with seditious conspiracy after prosecutors said they sought to “oppose by force the execution of the laws governing the transfer of presidential power” from former President Donald Trump to Biden.

Stewart Rhodes

WE'LL SEE. There's no evidence that Jan 6 was anything more than a riot. A serious attempt by this country's remedial readers to retain Orange Man would have seen armed people prepared to die with a definite plan to hold the capitol. Nope. It was a riot with a lot of seditious fantasizing by the rioters. This Rhodes character — you read it here first — will become a Maga martyr, emerging from the inflated charges against him with more followers. Which isn't to say the Magas aren't gathering momentum for a truly big push. 

A LOT OF ACADEMICS probably sympathize with Professor Mehler given the, uh, dubious abilities of the average college student — low ability combined with a robust sense of entitlement. Mehler teaches history of science at Ferris State in Michigan. He's been placed on leave after he announced that he randomly assigns grades before the first day of class. “I don´t even want to know your name. I just look at the number and assign a grade. That is how predestination works. ... Take your complaints to God. He ordained this system, not me.” Appearing in his kamikazi video with a plastic bubble over his head, Mehler called students “vectors of disease” and said they didn't need to attend class in person, concluding with a blanket invitation to “go fuck yourselves if you don't like it.” Mehler's been placed on “administrative leave.” Paid, I hope.

IN OUR OWN Year of Living Dangerously, 1968, I was driving a Yellow Cab in San Francisco both out of necessity to support my young family and as a kind of undisciplined literary project, keeping notes on each night's adventures. And there were some thrillers, including the night the Zodiac Killer murdered a fellow driver on my night shift that I knew casually, Paul Stine, a graduate student with his own young family. Most rides — fares — were uneventful, and we all quickly learned to avoid areas of enhanced likelihood of violence. The week Martin Luther King was murdered snipers in the Fillmore District and Hunters Point were shooting at cab top lights, and picking up people discharged from SF General's emergency room could also be a life threatening adventure as the hospital routinely handed psychos cab vouchers and gently pushed them out the door. I got one when I was new to the job. I asked the guy, “Where to?” He replied, “Wherever. I really don't give a shit.” As I drove him downtown — he really didn't care what destination — I tried to jolly him up with some lame cliches like, “Nice night out, huh?” And “How 'bout those Niners,” before he said, “Please just be quiet.” He wasn't as nuts as I'd assumed. Anticipating a difficult extraction near Union Square where there were lots of people around who might help off-loading the guy, I was relieved when he hopped right out as if Geary and Mason really was his intended destination and disappeared in the early evening throngs. 

BEST EVER FARE? Sidney Poitier, going away. I picked him up in Pacific Heights on a radio call. I'd had to wait out front before Poitier himself hustled out to assure me, “Give me a few minutes, ok?” Hmmm. Can it be the famous actor? I waited a while more and here he was, the famous actor, apologizing for making me wait. Poitier said his brother was a cab driver so he knew how difficult the job could be, and he asked me about myself and listened attentively as I tried to keep my answers minimal not to wear out his curiosity, which I felt in my bones, was real. We chatted like old friends all the way to a restaurant on Polk where he laid a twenty on me just for the tip and asked me to come back in an hour, “if possible.” I was there in forty-five minutes. 

We resumed our conversation mostly about me, a tiresome kid with a strange series of experiences, but what could I do, ask him something extremely stupid like, “What is Frank Sinatra really like?” and thus identify myself to my new friend as a hopeless feeb? He gave me another twenty dollar bonus when we got back to his palatial address where he said, “Thank you, Bruce. I've really enjoyed this.” 

Unless I'm wholly unable to discern real from unreal, Sidney Poitier meant it. All the reams of tributes to the man upon his recent death that lauded his humanity? They weren't faked. 

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Hello and happy new year!

This is a (mostly) final update on the Downtown Streetscape Project. This week, the traffic signals at Perkins and Standley got their final upgrade — a flashing yellow arrow! 

This allows vehicles to make a left turn, when safe, while traffic is also permitted in the oncoming lane. In terms of functionality, they prevent traffic congestion due to queueing vehicles in the turn lane. While these are pretty common in larger cities and other areas, they’re new to Ukiah…so please use extra caution while our local drivers get used to them.

Water: We’ve also gotten some questions about the water on the street near Alex Thomas Plaza. The constantly-flowing water is from a basement sump pump in one of the buildings on the west side. Most of the water is flowing down the gutter and into the bioretention facility (planter), just like it’s supposed to do. However, every few minutes, the pump surges a bit and pushes water farther out into the street. The center of State Street doesn’t have as much “crown” – or elevation – as it used to, so the water is spreading a bit further than we’d like. We’re experimenting with some fixes. With the amount of water that comes out of that basement, it seems like that’s where our next well should be! At any rate, this is not a sprinkler or water main leak.

Landscaping: A common concern prior to the start of this project was regarding our ability to maintain the new landscaping. I’m pleased to report that our Parks Department is doing a fantastic job keeping up with this, thanks in part to two new horticulturalist positions who have expertise in this area. 

Events: One of our favorite things: the recent Holiday Light Parade! It was wonderful to see so many community members come out — both as participants and spectators. We loved seeing community members three- and four-people deep as far as we could see along both sides of the street…and with room for pedestrians to pass, still! This is exactly the kind of event that our new downtown was built for, and we look forward to many more.

As always, feel free to contact me directly any time you have questions about this project or whatever. In the meantime, I wish you all a safe and happy 2022.

Shannon Riley

Deputy City Manager

City of Ukiah

300 Seminary Avenue

Ukiah, California 95482

w: (707) 467-5793

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Most people in Sonoma County are unaware of the long journey water takes from Lake and Mendocino counties to their faucets for their showers, a glass of water or washing dishes. 

If you live in northern Sonoma County or inland Mendocino County, you might want to get into the debate, or at least get concerned about your ability to have a stable source of water. Removal of Scott Dam would eliminate the mechanism to manage Russian River water on a year-round basis, leaving Lake Mendocino to dry up in a prolonged drought. 

Until the environmental studies are funded and completed, water supply reliability cannot be assured for our families, fish or firefighting.

Let’s see the science.

Carol Cinquini

Santa Rosa

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ONE OF ONLY TWO certified photographs of Billy the Kid (top hat). Playing cards with his accomplices. 1877.

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First off, there was an article in the AVA today called “Parting Advice From Tabatha Miller.” I don’t think I would be taking any of that advice. Records show that Ms. Miller was complicit and instrumental in getting 476 Alger St. turned over to Mendocino Railway in the railroad's eminent domain suit against the resident.

An internal email describing the scheme involving Mike Hart/Sierra Energy/Sierra Railroad from November 20, 2020, shows Ms. Miller as a recipient of that document, so she was aware of the scheme at that time. After that initial email there are a number of letters from both Mendocino Railway and their Eminent Domain attorneys discussing progress of the project and timelines for the takeover of the property all with Ms. Miller as a recipient of the information. As City Manager she would have been the one guiding the City’s involvement in the process.

Fortunately for the Hart Brothers, the residence mysteriously partially burned down in January of 2021 after they started the eminent domain process. So, they could clear the land with a demolition permit in June of 2021 and not have to deal with the Coastal Commission or submit an Environmental Impact Report on this acre of desirable Pudding Creek watershed property in Fort Bragg,

So What Of The Residents?

The residents now get to look at a new future. On a (positive?) note, their short street was recently paved. After many years of battling with the City about their crumbling street, prior to the taking of the Alger St. property by Mendocino Railway, the street itself was paved to a ‘high traffic standard’ that extends to about 10’ onto the taken property at the end of the road. Highly unusual indeed. Anyone who lives in Fort Bragg on a short backstreet knows how difficult it is to get more than a yearly pothole repair.

The residents are now paying to talk to attorneys to be able to better consider their options. Their angst over the situation is now compounded by surveyors from Mendocino Railway showing up to make preliminary plans for their ‘theme park entrance’. Of course as a railroad that is exempt from local rules and regulations we may never see those plans. No need to involve the Planning Commission.

Excavation equipment will just show up one day soon and they will do their construction project and open their new business up to the public. There won’t be a business license, traffic survey or any of those inconveniences that the rest of us have to go through when we want to do a commercial project.

You think I’m being an alarmist? I researched the rail bike business at 535 North Main St. that is operated by Mendocino Railway. They had no permits or inspections on the remodeling of the building. There was no fire safety inspection by the Fort Bragg Fire Department. There is no business license on record with the City. They just do business under the guise of a railroad, exempt from all those pesky regulations. The tickets to ride the rail bikes are sold online so the City doesn’t know if there is revenue or not. If you are a business owner in Fort Bragg, or the surrounding area you should be concerned. The railroad’s business may increase yours in the short run, but in the long run? You Lose. Tabatha Miller was a deciding factor on all of the Rail bike business as well.

So let’s get back to the residents. And it’s not just the Alger St. residents The East Laurel St residents are at risk as well. If you like to park on East Laurel St. to go to Otis Johnson park, you may need to make new plans in the near future. That parking will be needed for the Skunk Carnival taking place in “their’ Pudding Creek watershed.

The majority of the residents are onboard with looking at their legal options for resisting this threat to the quiet neighborhood save one. The Krenov School of Fine Furniture. While those operating the school itself are onboard, Mendocino Community College isn’t up to the fight. And there could be a simple reason for that as Robert Pinoli, CEO of Mendocino Railway is on the Board of Trustees of the college. In fact, he's the President of the Board. I’m not sure how much sway his vote has, but I’m sure he voted no to any attempted intervention on the Krenov School’s behalf.


Yesterday I had the opportunity to speak with an official at the railroad transportation division of the CPUC. (California Public Utilities Commission). I sent them some documents I happen to have. They are very interested in what Mendocino Railway is attempting to do here. They were shocked that a three mile tourist ride would even be able to exercise eminent domain rights. More shocked that the City of Fort Bragg didn’t intervene. (Another part of Tabatha Miller's legacy). In any case CPUC management is looking closely at the viability of these Takings from both the City and private residents. We residents may have a future in Fort Bragg after all.

So where is the City in all of this? I brought it to the City Council’s attention last Monday night. Bernie Norvell seemed to be squirming in his seat more than the rest. So far there is no public statement or opinion that I have heard. I think the citizenry needs to start asking what went on. Personally I believe that Tabatha Miller acted without notifying the city council and the lead council members trusted her judgment on most things without asking. Sad but…...

(to be continued…)

Bruce Broderick

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Students, Mendocino, 1925

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The City of Fort Bragg is seeking individuals with an interest and experience in the promotion and marketing of the Fort Bragg area. The Visit Fort Bragg Committee consists of five to seven community members and two City Councilmembers, Tess Albin-Smith and Jessica Morsell-Haye. 

Visit Fort Bragg’s mission is to inspire visitors to enjoy Fort Bragg through comprehensive and collaborative outreach ultimately increasing visitor spending and stimulating the local economy. Preference will be given to applicants representing Fort Bragg’s tourism sector and committee members are not required to reside within City limits. If interested, please complete and submit an application form, which can be found on the City website’s home page. 

Applications are due no later than January 27, 2022. 

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Proposed rule change for Announce listserv 

I highly recommend that people use to read and post to the MCN Announce list. It's an ingenious system that makes the list much more useful, and it's easy and simple to use.

I didn't ask MCN to babysit or nanny or censor the listserv. Those who think I did obviously didn't read what I said. I proposed that a rule be added to the TOU limiting the number of posts per day by any member. Then MCN would only become involved if someone notifies the list manager that someone has violated the rule. They then look and count the posts. If it's over the limit they suspend the violator for a week.

Those who oppose any limitation whatsoever on list posts would logically also oppose speed limits on highways, streets and school zones because: freedom. Do they call traffic law enforcers nannies, babysitters or censors? Do they also support to freedom to drive drunk without a license?

No one has a RIGHT to post to the Announce listserv. It is a privilege and it should come with responsibility and consideration for all subscribers. The MCN TOU rules for the list are phrased as mere "suggestions." Rules that are not enforced are not rules at all. People who hide behind fake names to avoid legal repercussions for slander and libel are essentially snipers, bullies and cowards, attacking their victims from hiding. I have no respect or tolerance for them.

I know of no other forum on the Internet that is a complete free for all, with no rules or moderation whatsoever. No wonder the poor manic guy in San Francisco has latched on to Announce as his personal megaphone. And he's not the only manic or psychotic poster to the list.

Thank you Joseph Huckaby for providing It's very easy to use and a great improvement and solution to some of the biggest problems of the MCN Announce list.

Nicholas Wilson

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Made me feel a bit odd when I learned there is such a bulletin called MCT. Oh well, live and learn. Better than living in fear. This bogus lawyer, Andrea Sullivan (from Lakeport) was put on my team when she's exactly working "tooth in glove" with District Attorney C. David Eyster "Oyster"! Also she appears to be working hobbit judge Faulder’s crooked angles also. Why are there three people launching a personal vendetta against me? They are afraid I can see that the fear in their eyes even through television court. Being scared is no way to win in court. At my age now of 67 I really haven't much to lose and certainly nothing to fear. So let's bring on this big juggernaut against me and start my trial. I have been waiting for trial over 22 months now. Are the taxpayers going to pay my room, board, medical expenses etc. for another two years? Also this "fake lawyer" from Lake County has been receiving a big fee for representing me for about 16 months now. This person and I do not talk to each other -- period! She is just "posing" as my lawyer (sanctioned by the team of Eyster and Faulder) to collect how much from the taxpayers? And for how much longer? I have been ready for trial since day one. District Attorney Eyster is stalling since he has zero evidence against me and hobbit judge Faulder is now running scared with appellate courts watching all this legal moves. The last time in court he played dumb like he barely knew me. When he robbed me 20 years ago as Deputy District Attorney and then issued a "fake warrant" on me when he first became judge he must have known me very well then!

Do these people live in fear or just don't have any morals or scruples? It seems that District Attorney Eyster religiously follows every line of the AVA and daily on the MCT bulletin. Is he paranoid the truth of his lawyer career will all come to light in black and white? And what is Faulder’s real problem? Short man complex? That's called the "Napoleon syndrome." Do you think they ever got their lunch money taken away? Let's try to make Faulder’s tiny head bigger by calling him Napoleon Faulder. There sure are a few Ukiah citizens who stereotype inbreeding!

Praise the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Sincerely David ‘Detective Youngcault’ Giusti

Fort Bragg, Mendoza Beach

Mendocino County Jail, Ukiah

PS. Maybe I just look like the guy that took their lunch money! Also my condolences to Terry Philbrick on the passing of her husband and my old pal and boss man Jerry Philbrick. Mendocino County’s mold was for sure broken upon Jerry’s arrival. He will be truly missed.

Ed note: Giusti’s right to a reasonably prompt trial also seem to have been waived. Although the last time it came up DA Eyster said Mr. Giusti was undergoing competency evaluation. For two years going on three?

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A Reader Writes:

Dear community members,

If you are experiencing communication, health care or other problems with Adventist Health, the two people to email are Heather Brown Douglas, Quality and Risk Management, and Judy Leach, CEO. Their respective emails are: and

Hope this is helpful.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, January 14, 2022

Chibikommallo, French, Hanover, Jones


JEFFREY FRENCH, Willits. Burglary, stungun, controlled substance, stolen property, paraphernalia, county parole violation.

GORDON HANOVER SR., Ukiah. Burglary.

SHANE JONES, Ukiah. Vandalism.

McCoy, Moore, Parker, Smith

JONATHAN MCCOY, Willits. Failure to care for animals, harassing, threatening or obscene phone calls.

RYAN MOORE, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. Evasion, failure to appear.

MICHALE PARKER, Ukiah. County parole violation, failure to appear.

COLTON SMITH, Ukiah. Failure to appear.

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Ketchum, Idaho — In a town where some of the wealthiest people in the country keep lavish homes, glittering and vast against a backdrop of sweeping mountains, officials are mulling over a plan to allow Ketchum's nurses, teachers, and service workers to sleep in tents in the city park as rent and housing costs continue to soar out of their grasp. "These are the people who work at your school. These are the people that work at your local business. These are the people who serve you and all you do is say 'not this, not that,'" Gilarowski said. "I know some of you put up your $8 million houses around this community, around these public lands that are owned by the citizens of the United States. You go out and do a spread in magazines to show off your houses, but you don't have compassion for working-class people."

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We had a yellow cat who was harder to see in a dark room than the black cat. I’m sure there is a scientific explanation for that, but I never bothered to find out what it was.

I grew up in Lakewood (a neighbor of Long Beach), and went to High School in North Long Beach (David Starr Jordan HS.) My Mom still lives in Cerritos (another Long Beach neighbor), and my Sister lives in Long Beach near Seal Beach. In fact it's only a 15 minute drive from her house to a place where you can see the "Oil Islands" in all their glory. There is also a place called Signal Hill, also known locally as Shell Hill, and it was covered with derricks well into my adulthood. I belonged to the local Sierra Club in my 20s and we'd do conditioning hikes on the hill several times a week. Not even knowing we were exposed to all kinds of nasty oil based carcinogens.

— Marie Tobias 

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In the late 1990s the U.S. military-industrial-media complex lobbied the Clinton administration to extend NATO. The sole purpose was to win more customers for U.S. weapons. Russia protested. It had offered to integrate itself into a new European security architecture but on equal terms with the U.S. The U.S. rejected that. It wanted Russia to subordinate itself to U.S. whims.

Since then NATO has been extended five times and moved closer and closer to Russia's border. Leaving Russia, a large country with many resources, outside of Europe's security structure guaranteed that Russia would try to come back from the miserable 1990s and regain its former power....

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by Jonah Raskin

“The power of the dog is all those urges, all those deep, uncontrollable urges that can come and destroy us.”

– Jane Campion, director, screenwriter

What’s a “western”? Moviegoers and film critics have been asking that age-old question and aiming to answer it, too, especially ever since The Power of the Dog arrived on Netflix at the end of 2021. Jane Campion’s movie, which was filmed in her native New Zealand, has the look and feel of a Hollywood western. It has bronco-busting cowboys and a few Indians, albeit not of the hoop and holler kind, and it doesn’t spew the myths of the frontier.

Set in Montana in 1925, the year that American readers fell in love with F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, it boasts wide open space and spectacular landscapes, though Campion’s landscapes also have something mysterious and spiritual about them. The film has a cowboy named Phil Burbank, a Yale graduate, who is reminiscent of “Johnny Guitar,” played by Sterling Hayden in Nicholas Ray’s film of the same name, though unlike Johnny, Phil plays the banjo, not the guitar.

Is Phil a good guy or a bad guy? Is he as mean and ornery as Jack Wilson, the hired gunfighter played to perfection by Jack Palance in Shane, a shadowy character that kids have loved to boo and hiss. Or is Phil more like John Wayne who owned the western for much of his career and who brilliantly played “the Ringo Kid,” the outlaw turned good citizen, in John Ford’s classic Stagecoach from 1939, when spies began to share screen time with cowboys.

Of course, there’s no simple definition of the western. No one single size fits every individual work in a genre that includes landmark films such as High Noon, 3:10 to Yuma, Gunfight at the O.K.Corral, Red River with Wayne and Montgomery Clift, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and McCabe & Mrs Miller, in which Mrs. Miller (Julie Christie) smokes opium.

Eminently suited for mass production by the studio system, the western migrated to TV and was reinvented as Gunsmoke and Have Gun – Will Travel, which I loved when I was a boy, along with The Lone Ranger and Hopalong Cassidy. Tonto, played by Jay Silverheels, never did seem like a real Indian.

Also, the western was eminently suited for export to Japan, where the samurai reprised the role of the gunfighter, and to Italy where Sergio Leoni made his spaghetti-westerns with the iconic Clint Eastwood in masterpieces such A Fistful of Dollars in which money and bullets mix madly. To Campion’s credit, (she wrote the screenplay and also directed) she has not transported the western to New Zealand, though she seems to have watched and digested a ton of westerns, taking from them what she has wanted, over the past decade or so, and making up the rest: including an alcoholic, flapper of the Jazz Age played by Kirsten Dunst; and her son, Peter Gordon in the role of a shy, slender artistic lad who is well played by Kodi Smit-McPhee, a 26-year-old Australian, who acts like he has a long career ahead of him.

Campion’s movie has the external dramatic conflicts of traditional westerns, without six guns and gunfights. It also has the internal conflicts that take place in movies like High Noon (1952), in which Gary Cooper as Marshal Will Kane comes out of retirement, battles his own demons and brings frontier justice to the town of Hadleyville. John Wayne told an interviewer that he considered High Noon “the most un-American thing I’ve ever seen in my whole life.” Coming from Wayne, that’s understandable. In the 1950s, Carl Foreman’s High Noon seemed at times to be a parable about the cowardice of Americans in the age of McCarthyism and the crusade against “The Reds.” Johnny Guitar (1954) has also been viewed as a commentary on the phenomenon of the mass psychology of the mob.

If Campion wants her movie to be a parable about life in the twenty-first century she isn’t saying. At least she’s not broadcasting what she has aimed to communicate to the audience. Still, at the end of the picture, Peter, the city lamb turned into a lion, opens The Book of Common Prayer and reads Psalm 22:20: “Deliver my soul from the sword; my darling from the power of the dog.” Campion herself has said that the title was meant “as a kind of warning.“ She went to say, “The power of the dog is all those urges, all those deep, uncontrollable urges that can come and destroy us.” Campion has also connected “the power of the dog” specifically to Donald Trump.

The movie itself holds its cards close to its chest and doesn’t sermonize in an overt way. At times it seems to change direction and double back on itself as though it alters its mind about itself. Little things and small gestures matter greatly in The Power of the Dog: human generosity across ethnic lines and in the face of stubbornness; and the act of passing on wisdom and lore when so much goes by so quickly and is forgotten.

John Wayne would no doubt call Campion’s picture “un-American.” He’d point to the fact that the director was from New Zealand and that there is no one as loud and belligerent as him in the film.

Indeed, for Campion there are no more John Waynes, Alan Ladds or Gary Coopers; no lone gunslingers who rid the world of evil and make the frontier safe for white folk. These are different times. The Power of the Dog is a western for our different, difficult times.

Is it a western? Yes! and No! But, pardner, let’s not call it a western or a melodrama and shove it in a category. It’s a movie that breaks new ground and that can’t be easily or accurately labeled. Leave it to a woman and a New Zealander conscious of the deep, uncontrollable urges that can come and destroy us—and who treats cinema as an art form—to recreate an epic once thought to be uniquely American, but that’s now regarded as uniquely global.

(Jonah Raskin is the author of Beat Blues, San Francisco, 1955.)

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by Colin Kidd

So abrasively right-wing was George W. Bush’s gravel-voiced vice-president, Dick Cheney, that he got the nickname Darth Vader. Out of office he hammed up the part, making public entrances to the Imperial March from Star Wars. He once asked his wife, Lynne, if it annoyed her that people referred to him as Darth Vader. Not at all, she said, ‘it humanizes you.’ Cheney’s daughter, Liz, a media-friendly blonde soccer mom and the Republican Representative for Wyoming’s statewide congressional district, has none of her father’s gruffness, but she is just as hawkishly conservative. She opposes Obamacare and gun control, and has described the Democrats as a party of “antisemitism, infanticide and socialism.” On certain subjects she is more tendentious than the orthodoxies of the hard right demand: she defends waterboarding and has been reluctant to condemn birtherism. It’s disconcerting to see someone with these views being tarred as a liberal RINO (‘Republican in name only’). Her offense? Disloyalty to Donald Trump – despite voting the Trump line 93% of the time during his presidency. Disgusted at the way he conjured an insurrectionist mob in an attempt to overturn the election result, Cheney supported impeachment efforts and is vice-chair of the congressional investigation into the failed coup. As a result she has lost her leadership role in the House Republican Conference and faces a serious primary challenge in 2022. Along with Mitt Romney, Adam Kinzinger and the never-Trumpers of the Lincoln Project, Cheney is one of the last standard-bearers of a Republican conservatism grounded in some version of rationality. But it seems likely that she and her kind will be sidelined, if not obliterated, by a movement in thrall to conspiracies: anti-vaxxer, QAnon, birtherism, Biden’s election “steal.”…

In the early 1960s, the historian Richard Hofstadter identified a “paranoid style” in American political culture. The Whigs of the mid-19th century had emerged, at least in part, out of the Anti-Masonic Party, and the Republican Party that succeeded the Whigs in the 1850s was not only hostile to the slave South, but had pronounced anti-Catholic and anti-Mormon prejudices. From the Jacksonians to the late 19th-century agrarian populists, the rhetoric of the Democrats focused on the unaccountable power of banks and other sinister financial interests. Half a century or so after John F. Kennedy’s assassination, around 60% of Americans still dissent from the official verdict that a lone gunman was responsible, though there’s no consensus about the identity of the conspirators: variously the Mafia, the CIA or Castro’s Cuba. In the interim we have heard on Nixon’s Watergate tapes evidence of the “paranoid style” in the Oval Office itself.

Despite all this, in his new book, A Conspiratorial Life: Robert Welch, the John Birch Society and the Revolution of American Conservativism, Edward Miller thinks things have got measurably worse. Conspiratorial ideas that once belonged on the eccentric margins of American conservatism have become part of the mainstream. Miller’s study of Robert Welch, the founder of the John Birch Society, presents a plausible account of America’s slow descent from the 1950s into the abyss of post-truth politics. Welch has tended to be written off as a not particularly successful “candyman.” But this is only part of his curious backstory. Born in 1899, he was a child prodigy, enrolling at the University of North Carolina at the age of twelve, his father having had to be dissuaded from sending him to college a year earlier. At UNC Welch took courses in French and German, although his real passions were mathematics and poetry. These interests endured. He and his wife, Marian, would read poetry together, and on vacations he immersed himself in mathematical equations; he later estimated that he had devoted two years of his life to wrestling with Fermat’s Theorem. He also studied at Harvard Law School, paying his way, in part, by offering private tuition in Spanish to Harvard men bound for business careers in Latin America.

Welch never intended to practice law, and dropped out of Harvard to set up a fudge business. His specialty was the Sugar Daddy, a caramel lollipop on a stick. By 1927 the Oxford Candy Company employed 160 people. But the business expanded too quickly, and a combination of rising chocolate prices, unsustainable debt and the Wall Street Crash bankrupted Welch. Further humiliation followed. He took a job at a rival candy firm run by his younger brother, James, whom he had trained up as a confectioner. As well as being head of the sales department at the James O. Welch Candy Company, Robert also took a percentage – which dwindled over the years – from sales of the Sugar Daddies he had brought to his brother’s business.

Welch shared the antipathy of many in the business world to Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. The outbreak of war in Europe drew him into the isolationist America First Committee. Welch – like Senator Robert Taft of Ohio, the leading heartland Republican – wanted no part in “Europe’s war.” Before Pearl Harbor, isolationism of this sort wasn’t far from the mainstream of American politics. Welch seemed to be a conventional Taft Republican: for untrammelled free markets; against dangerous foreign entanglements.

The “loss” of China to communist rule in 1949 was as painful to conservatives then as the loss of Afghanistan is today. How had the American-backed Kuomintang of Chiang Kai-shek been defeated by Mao’s communists? Surely there were hidden factors at play – perhaps a fifth column of communist sympathizers in the State Department? Just after the end of the Second World War, a uniformed intelligence officer by the name of John Birch had been executed by communist forces in Eastern China. Why had this been hushed up? In 1954, Welch published The Life of John Birch, an account of the martyrdom of the first victim of the Cold War. There were other ominous signs and portents in Asia. In April 1951, just as the US began to exert itself militarily in Korea and in defense of the Kuomintang holdout in Taiwan, President Truman brusquely sacked his victorious commander in the region, General Douglas MacArthur. According to a Gallup poll, 69% of Americans backed MacArthur. For Welch, such incidents were coming to seem part of a deeper pattern. Was the United States – guided either by crypto-communists or communist dupes – deliberately conceding its potential dominance in East Asia?

Events in the Republican Party itself were just as disturbing. Going into the Republican Convention of 1952, Taft had 530 delegates, Eisenhower 427. Yet with some wheedling and gamesmanship in the application of the rules, Eisenhower emerged with the presidential nomination on the first round of voting. What, Welch asked, was the difference between “Tweedledum Eisenhower” and the Democratic candidate, “Tweedledee Stevenson”? And who was pulling the strings of these more or less identical puppets? Welch thought that Eisenhower was at the very least a cat’s paw of communist interests, or more likely an agent, “a disciplined member of the Communist Party who has been acting on orders [from the party] for at least fifteen years.” He began to compile a mammoth letter on the topic of Ike’s hidden communism, which he circulated in confidence to friends. Inevitably, it leaked out and caused consternation among the extremist – but not quite that extreme – members of an emergent conservative movement.

In particular, the Eisenhower letter provided an opening for William F. Buckley, the founder-editor of the National Review, to establish some distance between the honest-to-goodness hard right and deluded fantasists like Welch. Although Welch gave financial support to the National Review in 1955, he received little in return. Yet Buckley’s claim to have successfully excommunicated Welch from the conservative fold was an empty boast. As Miller sees it, America has turned into “Welchland.”

In the course of the 1950s, Welch’s brand of ultra-conservatism took institutional shape. In 1956, he started the magazine One Man’s Opinion (later renamed American Opinion), and at a meeting in Indianapolis in 1958 he established the John Birch Society, which would eventually become, in Miller’s assessment, the leading body “on the rightmost edge of acceptable conservatism.” The society was secretive and cellular: whenever a chapter reached a ceiling of 24 members it had to divide. Although it never had a mass membership – Miller thinks its peak was around 30,000 in 1965 – the society’s reach and influence were much broader. Birch Research provided off-the-peg speeches, opposition data and other services for political candidates. The Birch Log, a syndicated column, was carried in 140 newspapers by 1976. The society’s publishing division, Western Islands Press, sold books at county fairs and business conventions. Teddy Bare, an account of Teddy Kennedy’s behavior at Chappaquiddick, spent three months on the New York Times bestseller list.

Welch’s grand conspiracy changed and became a hydra. Anti-communism was superseded by a more generalized suspicion of the internationalism that flourished among America’s East Coast elites. The anxiety was no longer specific to communist subversion; anything that seemed to dilute American sovereignty was problematic. The United Nations provided an obvious source of concern, but so did initiatives for disarmament and the deliberations of think-tanks like the Council on Foreign Relations, whose purpose appeared to be the containment rather than defeat of communism. According to Miller, Dan Smoot’s The Invisible Government (1962), an indictment of an “all-controlling deep establishment,” exercised a powerful influence on Welch and his movement. Talk of communist conspiracy now seemed crude. Welch came to believe that a cosmopolitan cabal of “insiders,” ensconced on Wall Street and in Washington but descended from the Illuminati, an 18th-century Bavarian secret society, had been responsible not only for the Bolshevik revolution of 1917, but also for dragging the US into both world wars and for civil rights, the Federal Reserve banking system and income tax. Anything liberal, relativist, internationalist, secularist or merely innovative was woven into a “tapestry of conspiracy” that eventually included the Equal Rights Amendment, abortion, sex education and even fluoride in the water supply.

Republican elites, Welch believed, were themselves part of the deep state establishment. Birchers called for the impeachment of the most prominent liberal Republican, Earl Warren, chief justice of the Supreme Court and a former governor of California. But ostensibly illiberal Republicans also attracted Welch’s ire, not least Nixon, whom he called “one of the ablest, shrewdest, most disingenuous and slipperiest politicians that ever showed up on the American scene.” Nixon had been part of the corrupt bargain back in 1952 when the Eisenhower-Nixon ticket dangled the chief justiceship in front of Warren in order to win over the California delegation at the Republican convention. The bilking of Taft still rankled. The prospect of Eisenhower being succeeded in 1960 by the likes of Nixon or Kennedy was described by one of Welch’s lieutenants as “like leaving the diaper on the baby and just changing the pin.” Welch and Buckley reconciled briefly in 1959 to explore the possibility of a “New Party,” which might unite genuine conservatives in the North and anti-integrationist states’ rights supporters in the South. But the plan came to nothing. Except for rare moments, such as the 1970 Senate election in New York when Buckley’s brother James ran successfully on a Conservative ticket against a Democrat and a liberal Republican, the movement has been forced, for lack of an alternative, to fasten on the Republican Party as its vehicle.

Welch died in 1985 during the Reagan administration (another supposedly conservative Republican about whom he had long harbored doubts), but his influence lives on in Trumpism and its several subcultures. The incoherence of Trump’s foreign policy – lurching between big stick swagger and the repudiation of neoconservative Bush-Cheney adventurism – was no doubt at some level an expression of his capricious, untutored ego. But there are also echoes not only of Taft’s isolationism, but of Welch’s own vacillation. Ambivalent about war and the military-industrial complex, Welch was troubled – despite his anti-communism – by the belief that conflicts like the one in Vietnam were being run for the benefit of a secretive elite of profiteers.

Miller is alert to the many stages of the American right’s “theme park journey”: the careers of Joe McCarthy, Barry Goldwater and George Wallace; the conversion of blue-collar ethnic Catholics in the North and white supremacists in the South to a new model of Republicanism; the politicization of evangelical Protestantism, especially its millenarian variants; the emergence of the Tea Party and the rise of alt-right social media, such as 4Chan and 8Chan. A crucial milestone was Richard Viguerie’s creation of a conservative direct-mailing operation in the late 1970s. Without Viguerie’s database, Miller concedes, there would have been no “Reagan revolution” in the 1980s; but, he adds, “without Birchers it is highly likely there would have been no list.”

Of course, the slow unfolding of right-wing delusion falls short of explaining our present grotesqueries. Some of the most outlandish phenomena of the past year are highly contingent outcomes of the pandemic: the libertarian opposition to mask mandates, anxieties about the security of mail-in voting, bizarre quack cures. But they are shaped by attitudes that existed before the internet, Covid or Trump. In “Talkin’ John Birch Paranoid Blues,” released in 1962, Bob Dylan sang with prophetic sarcasm: “If you got a cold you take a shot of malaria.”

(London Review of Books)

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Californians no longer have a real choice when voting after TOP TWO came into being. A foolish lawsuit (Rubin v Padilla) by cabal of Peace & Freedom Party self servers and a bunch of Alameda County Green Party know-it-all’s sued in an Alameda County Superior Court, lost repeatedly in all the California courts and then appealed to the United States Supreme Court where they lost again entrenching the lack of voter choices for our lifetimes.

Those of us in PFP with some legal experience in election lawsuits argued unsuccessfully to bring Rubin v Padilla into federal court initially but were ignored resulting in California becoming a One Party monopoly where being a Democratic incumbent is a lifetime jobs program.

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by Dan Bacher

This is one of the biggest environmental news stories this year to date, but I’m apparently one of the few investigative journalists who understands just how significant it is.

In case you were thinking that the federal government under President Joe Biden was addressing the climate crisis by reducing oil drilling and dependence on fossil fuels in the U.S. at this time, I have some alarming news for you.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecasts that U.S. oil production will average 12.4 million barrels per day during 2023, surpassing the record high for domestic crude oil production set in 2019 under Trump.

“In its January Short-Term Energy Outlook <> (STEO), EIA forecasts U.S. crude oil production will increase for nine consecutive quarters, from the fourth quarter of 2021 through 2023,” according to a press release from the EIA issued yesterday. “EIA also expects OPEC to increase its crude oil production to 28.9 million barrels per day in 2023, up from an average of 26.3 million barrels per day in 2021.”

“We expect global demand for petroleum products to return to and surpass pre-pandemic levels this year, but crude oil production grows at a faster rate in our forecasts,” said EIA Acting Administrator Steve Nalley. “We expect that as crude oil production increases, inventories will begin to replenish and help push prices lower for gasoline, jet fuel, and other products in the short term.”

The agency also forecasts that U.S. commercial crude oil inventories will reach 465 million barrels at the end of 2023, about 11% more than inventories at the end of 2021.

Other key takeaways from the latest STEO include:

 - ”EIA estimates that the United States produced 1.5 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu) of solar power in 2021, a 23.7% increase from 2020. EIA forecasts U.S. consumption of solar-generated electricity to increase a further 27.3% in 2022 and 25.2% in 2023.* - *”By September 2023, EIA expects U.S. natural gas production to reach an average of 98 billion cubic feet per day for the first time and then to average 98.2 billion cubic feet per day the second half of 2023.* - *”U.S. coal consumption increased by 14% in 2021 in response to growing demand for coal-fired electricity. EIA expects U.S. coal consumption to decrease by 2% in 2022 and remain relatively unchanged in 2023. Despite the decrease in consumption, EIA forecasts that coal production will increase 6% in 2022.*

The entire Short-Term Energy Outlook is available on the EIA website <>.

Meanwhile in California, the Newsom Administration continues to issue thousands of oil and gas drilling permits.

In October 2021, Consumer Watchdog and Fractracker Alliance revealed that the state’s oil and gas regulatory agency, CalGEM, had approved a total of 9,728 oil drilling permits from January 1, 2019 until October 1, 2021. In addition, the groups found that the Newsom Administration approved 150 offshore drilling permits in state waters under existing leases since January 1, 2019.

Is anybody else beginning to see a pattern here?

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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. Go ahead if you feel like it. It'll probably be fine.

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. Their equanimity is in your hands.

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 full bazorkus of educational razzmatazz to snap your sixth fingers to until showtime, or any time, such as:

I used the word magnificent a week or two ago, and I don't want to overuse it and devalue the currency, but isn't she magnificent, in a Seussian sort of way. It's a poem called Not All Men. (via Fark)

Mortal Combat a cappella.

And this story works fine on the radio. It's a complete story. I just thought you'd get a kick out of these young women's /not at all sorry for what we have done/ mug-shot faces. It makes you wonder what the guy did that pissed them off in the first place and brought them to commit their multicolored particulate felony crime. (via Fark)

— Marco McClean,,

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* * *


by James Kunstler

So much chatter in the news media these days about who will be “Joe Biden’s” running mate in 2024 — not that there’s anything wrong with his current sidekick — but I’ve got half a mind to throw my own hat in the ring. That’d make two of us with half a mind and a shot at the so-far elusive ideal to govern least… and therefore govern best!

Alas, I lack the connections and the ground-game of a seasoned pol such as Liz Cheney, the current favorite, who dragged her esteemed old daddy, Dick Cheney (“George W. Bush’s brain”) up to Capitol Hill this week, for to schmooze up the Progressive caucus and raise morale among the walking dead. Where Dick Cheney treads, you know war can’t be far behind. That must be what America really needs to pep her up in these days of sagging poll numbers and inflating dollars. War, the ivermectin of politics!

But shall it be a foreign war or a civil war? Isn’t that the question? From the looks of things around “Joe Biden’s” White House, where a weird concrete fortification is being hoisted up on the north lawn as I write, it looks like they’re planning for action on the home front, perhaps a full-out assault by the lurking forces of white supremacy — painted savages in horned head-dresses screaming MAGA-MAGA-MAGA as they loot Dr. Jill’s walk-in closet.

The Attorney General, Mr. Garland, has been warning us about this Satanic host of backward-facing demons. They breed like botflies in the red state hills and hollers, swarm and buzz in the school board meetings, caress their AR-15s in prostrate worship of their Trump bobbleheads, scheming to deprive BIPOCs of their votes. They’d like to tie Democracy to the back bumper of a Ford Alpha F-150, drag it over seven miles of broken Southern Comfort bottles, and feed whatever’s left to the hogs. They must be stopped!

Except… what if they fail to materialize? Maybe a foreign war would play better on social media and The View. Our arch-enemy, Vlad Putin, election-meddler supreme, is fixing to invade Ukraine, we’re told. Obviously, that would interfere with “Joe Biden’s” plan to make Ukraine America’s fifty-first state. When Sec’y of State Tony Blinken mentioned that to Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister blew mineral water through his nose all over the conference table. Would a friendly little tussle over that sad-sack country lift America’s animal spirits… like, get the economy firing on all cylinders? Roust up all those work-force dropouts who disdain fine jobs waiting for them in the Amazon warehouses and the fry-lanes of Mickey-D? Put the brakes on all this fentanyl snorting…? All this porn-watching…? Turn around America’s long sickening slide into its own Hollywood fantasy of the zombie apocalypse?

Well, I must be frank: probably not. Probably only hasten America’s journey to the political pits of hell (and Ukraine’s to its special sub-hell). What would be our strategy in this war over Ukraine? Arm Ukraine with all the latest US gee-whiz fighting gear and let them have a go at the Russian army poised along the border of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts? That’ll work, I’m sure. Call it Operation Russian Roulette, only with a bullet in every chamber. You see, it is not a generally-accepted fact among world military professionals that Ukraine has — how you say? — a well-disciplined, experienced fighting force. I hope that does not offend.

If that doesn’t seem like a viable game-plan, do “Joe Biden,” Tony Blinken, and Lloyd Austin really suppose we would transport x-number of US troop divisions six thousand miles from Kansas to slug it out with those Russian divisions poised at the edge of their own homeland? Have a look at the world map and contemplate the logistical picture. Not so favorable for us, wouldn’t you agree? A long way to re-supply our boys, gals, and theys in uniform with fresh Kit-Kat bars.

Okay, say that dog don’t hunt, what else then? Default to our trusty old ICBMs, waiting patiently in their rusty silos lo these many decades for the chance to do their thing? That is, turn the world into an ashtray? I give you: Dr. Strangelove re-made as a documentary…. We are livin’ the dream, all right.

How’s this for an idea: just leave Ukraine alone. If Russia intends to dominate it, so what? For most of our lives Ukraine was a virtual province of Russia, so to speak, and it didn’t hurt us none. Ditto our grandparents and all the ranks of our ancestors. And now it’s a problem? Could it be possible that Ukraine is just none of our business (in the most literal way)?

Meanwhile the business of Covid-19 flares spectacularly in omicron drag — but not vary harmfully — around the world, presaging a welcome end to this contrived global emergency, and yet the member nations of the Western Civ club (including many also enlisted in NATO) drive deeper with their experiment in tyranny even as the end of Covid is in sight. Despite overwhelming proof that the mRNA vaccines don’t work, and actually induce much serious harm to people, Western Civ still strives insanely to vaxx-up every last citizen. The Supreme Court shot down “Joe Biden’s” vaxx mandate for businesses yesterday, and the “president” actually declared that companies should ignore the decision and compel employees to get vaxxed anyway.

If that is not something like peak insane, what is? At least, among the cohort in our land who are susceptible to that madness, which is actually not a majority of the people in this land. Hence, I have news for you: we are now at the turning point. Americans are rejecting blue insanity. We are fixing to drag that old blue dog to the doghouse, where it can cool out for two years before we put it down for good. And a couple more things: “Joe Biden” is done running for president, and Liz Cheney is done running for Congress, or anything else. Welcome back to reality. Let the sun shine in.

(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page.)

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  1. chuck dunbar January 15, 2022


    Man, that’s a great little personal experience with Sidney Poitier, all those years ago as a cabbie in SF. Thanks Bruce!

    • Eric Sunswheat January 15, 2022

      I rode the elevator alone with Willie Brown, up to the skylight ceiling SF Board of Supervisors chambers, where an integrated waste management meeting occurred on compost process utilization, but at the moment I was tongue tied and spoke not a word to him, though his smile was broad. He did not attend meeting.

  2. David Eyster January 15, 2022

    Good Saturday morning, Mr. AVA Editor:

    Ed note: Giusti’s right to a reasonably prompt trial also seem
    to have been waived. Although the last time it came up DA
    Eyster said Mr. Giusti was undergoing competency evaluation.
    For two years going on three?

    Mr. Giusti was found legally incompetent and unable to stand trial in early June 2021. After restoration efforts were undertaken, the Court determined on December 23rd that Mr. Giusti had been restored to competency and is now ready for trial. Mr. Giusti has his jury trial currently calendared to get underway on February 14, 2022.

    — DA Dave

  3. Harvey Reading January 15, 2022

    Billy the Kid looked a lot like Bob Dylan…

  4. Kirk Vodopals January 15, 2022

    Love the photos of the Navarro sandbar. Surfed it the day after Christmas. The river is now heading southward as the flows recede. I’d give it about ten more days and it will close again without more rainfall. Do yer raindances all ye hill muffins.

  5. Kirk Vodopals January 15, 2022

    Don’t forget those addicted to the anti-covid narrative! E.G. the omnipotent bullshit artist Candace Owens who says she’ll never get vaccinated even if the vaccine was the only thing that could save her from dying. The insane virtue signaling on the right almost balances out the liberal Fauci idolizers.
    The right won’t admit that the vaccine substantially reduces hospitalizations and deaths and the left won’t admit that it does nothing to stop transmission.
    We’re on the downhill slide folks. Omicron does not necessitate mechanical ventilation. It spreads rapidly but is mildly symptomatic. Europe doesn’t require masks in schools apparently. The CDC has made huge mistakes in the management of this pandemic, but, the media, on both sides, has done a worse job.
    Time to get off this ferris wheel please. Even the Workd Health Order admits we can’t vaccinate the world every six months.

  6. John McKenzie January 15, 2022

    I have to admit I’ve begun to enjoy the continued saga of Brue Broderick theses past few weeks. He and the skunk seem to be the opposite sides of the same coin. It can be assured that information from either parties can not be viewed as 100% accurate. If the the citizens of Fort Bragg still want to rename the city, they may consider “La Mancha” as a new name. It seems “Don” Broderick has found his windmill. I’m not sure if he has found his sidekick yet. I’m eagerly awaiting the next installment in the saga.

    • Kirk Vodopals January 15, 2022

      Well put. Maybe the Skunk should propose some windmill energy on their property. Then Don Broderick could ride into battle

    • Stephen Rosenthal January 15, 2022

      It’s funny, just this morning I wondered if anyone else was becoming annoyed with Bruce Broderick’s ongoing crusade. But by contextualizing it in terms of Don Quixote (one of my favorite novels), I can see myself enjoying it. Thanks for the concept, John.

  7. Craig Stehr January 15, 2022

    Hello everybody, As of Saturday January 15th, 2022, the digitization of the Earth First! video archives is completed and stored in the cloud. My role was to be financially supportive, and Andy Caffrey’s role was to perform the technological work. He and I have wished each other well, smoothed over any ruffles caused by the intensity and difficulty of achieving this in a small apartment. Because Earth First! is the origin of the radical environmental movement, the preservation of its past 45 year history is crucial.
    I am ready to move on from Garberville, CA. The Divine Absolute is working through this body-mind instrument. You are welcome to donate money, provide housing, and by all means appreciate my presence on the planet earth during this abominable darkest phase of Kali yuga. Peaceout.

    Craig Louis Stehr
    Telephone Messages: (213) 842-3082
    Snail Mail: P.O. Box 938, Redwood Valley, CA 95470

  8. Jim Armstrong January 15, 2022

    I am still chuckling a few days after our dynamic duo “took” the quiz designed to test the depths of their life experiences.
    Bruce had obviously encountered something similar before and totally nullified the enterprise by going 10 and 10 giving no insight to what might be troubling his soul.
    The Major, at 15 and 5, simply left us wondering if he understood the rules and may have mixed up having done with having not.
    Thanks, guys.

  9. Marianne McGee January 15, 2022

    As a person who spent hundreds of hours recording, editing and writing on the Mendocino Coast District Hospital Board of Trustee meetings, I am pleased to report that I have had very positive interactions with Adventist Health Mendocino Coast hospital staff over the last 14 months.

    I was the second most public critic of the old MCDH management, especially under the Edwards regime and during the Obstetrics debacle. Those videos and editorials, done on my own time and dime, are still available on, if you need a refresher.

    I have had an outpatient surgical procedure, lab work and two trips to the Emergency Room in the last two weeks. I have been amazed how positive and effective the staff are now, even with the obvious stress of Covid, staff shortages and being forced to deal with the disruptive behavior of people with behavioral health crises.

    I sincerely believe that without the Adventists’ intervention, the doors to our community hospital would be nailed shut now, at the most difficult time in our medical history.

    While it is important to voice concerns to hospital management, I believe it is also extremely important to share your positive experiences with them as well! It is critical to our community that the Adventists continue their contract with the Mendocino Coast Healthcare District Board of Trustees.

    I do understand Jade Tippett’s concerns regarding some current trustees, three of whom are up for election, should they choose to run again. I was also concerned about that group of three and you can also find recordings and editorials about them online as well. Outside of quickly firing Mr. Edwards, they failed to live up to their original campaign promises. Yes, while the hospital is not shuttered down, their promises were to keep the community hospital independent and self sufficient with a functioning OB department. It is very concerning to me that these people are responsible for ensuring the hospital will survive and deal with the 2030 retrofit deadline.

    So, please share your positive feedback with the hospital management as well as your concerns! I hope some qualified candidates emerge for the MCHD Board of Trustees to ensure we will continue to have a hospital in order to have a healthy community.

      • Marianne McGee January 16, 2022

        Thanks Joe, that’s interesting! I do find it hard to believe, given Covid, difficult staffing and financial issues, the State will stick with the 2030 earthquake retrofit deadline. Maybe wishful thinking on my part!

  10. Betsy Cawn January 16, 2022

    The task of informing the public is not helped by the general attitude of the elected officials that they do not have to “reply” to inquiries from lesser members of the “press” or individual citizens not officially representing an organization with any kind of clout. When the officials themselves spout their glorified descriptions of programs and projects they deem to have foundations in structured, executable “plans” that are not even close to the concept, the public is further removed from the process of collective decision-making. Thanks again for Taibbi in today’s edition, and thanks always for the AVA.

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