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Off the Record (January 19, 2022)

THE TRUE STATE of the County, and the country for that matter, is neatly summed up by this letter from Mr. Eloherry: “Editor: I saw your article about a housing crisis and had to write and tell you what happened to me. I went to High School here in Ukiah. Graduated from the class of 1979. My mom had a house here for 38 years. I rented apartments here for over 25 years and never had any trouble finding a place to rent.

About 11 years ago, I moved to Healdsburg. My mom was having health problems and her house burned down. She was 79 years old. So I moved home to Ukiah and lived with her to help her rebuild her house and stay in the home as long as she could. She went and had back surgery and came home and was not able to walk around and stay in the home any longer. We had to put her in a care home. She was a nursing supervisor at the hospital here for 35 years and she ran the Home Health agency in Mendocino County for 15 years. They did not have any spots available here for her in a nursing home. We had to put her in Cloverdale. My family told me I had to move out of the family home, so we could pay 9k a month to keep her in a care home. I went to 3 different property management companies and paid them $45, $35 and $25 to run a check and pre approve me so I could rent one of their units. Then they told me there were other people they had to process in front of me. In other words, get in line. If my brother in law’s dad did not give me a little one bedroom apartment he had open, I would have been homeless. He had houses and apartments he rents out and had an empty unit that he could fix up and let me have. I had lived in the units or complexes I was trying to get into before. They have raised the rent $400 since then or more. I could not believe the prices or the situation. There are not affordable housing units here anymore. Your article was spot on. People that make $35k a year cannot afford these units. I could afford one, but one was not offered to me. The situation is scary. That is all I can say. Please give this to the people who run our county. They need to fix this as soon as possible. Jeff Eloherry, Ukiah”

WHENEVER the subject of housing comes up among Mendocino County's leadership, everyone laments the lack of basic shelter for working people like Mr. Eloherry and, as has happened, have even made vague statements about, say, tiny houses or low cost housing. And that's it. Nothing happens beyond a few pro forma plucks at their leaden heartstrings, or Supervisor Gjerde’s turgid, unread 700-plus page Coastal Housing Plan.

AS FORMER SUPERVISOR Pinches, the last practical-minded supervisor we've had, pointed out several times, the county has vacant land in various areas around the county. Pinches suggested hurry-up trailer parks which would quickly amortize their installation in return rents to the county, rents at affordable rates to working and retired people. Like most of his suggestions, Pinches’ ideas were ignored. As was Major Scaramella’s suggestion of taking an inventory of the many empty buildings in the County and telling the owner’s that if they don’t get them occupied within 90 days, they could be confiscated  via  eminent domain at market value and converted to housing.

ANOTHER IDEA of Pinches that died for lack of a second, and actually seemed to alarm his cringing colleagues, was a re-negotiation of Mendo's water deal with Sonoma County. As some people are aware, Mendo (Supervisor Joe Scaramella dissenting) gave SoCo, in perpetuity, almost all the water piled up behind Coyote Dam to form Lake Mendocino. That deal was struck in the middle 1950s a full decade before Sonoma County, particularly Santa Rosa, grew to the unplanned, unanticipated suburban mess it is today. Mendo's free water made the mess possible. 

THE DAM was paid off years ago. SoCo takes Mendo's water and sells it at a profit throughout Sonoma County and as far downstream as Sausalito, thus banking many millions over the years. Even the water stored in Lake Sonoma mostly is fed by southern Mendo County, and mostly held in reserve by SoCo while Mendo water fills Marin swimming pools.

CEO ANGELO, in her interview with Matt LaFever, said that Mendo has $20 million in “reserves.” Which I seriously doubt because there is no reliable internal budget reporting, or any budget reporting, with which this windy claim might be verified. On the off chance there is a healthy reserve, which could be true since many departments suffer an unstated hiring freeze, why not spend some of it on creative housing? (CEO Angelo, btw, personally authorizes each new hire, a cockamamie way to staff a whole county, complicated by unattractive rates of pay and, it must be said, unhappiness among existing employees that causes constant turnover. Angelo was hired, we should remember, as a hatchet woman after the 2008 recession, with direction from her alleged supervisors to lop off as many employees as necessary to get the budget more or less balanced, a task she proved perfectly suited for.

AS I'VE observed here many times, Ms. Angelo has always operated in a political vacuum created by successive weak boards of supervisors. Left to supervise herself with zero direction from the people theoretically responsible for providing policy direction — at one point three of the five supervisors were also mental health clients — Angelo has seized the initiative, and woe unto you if you get sideways with her because you're instantly outtathere, hence several pending wrongful termination suits. But Angelo has been left to her own dubious devices by weak supervisors, and when March rolls around, and assuming she's not hired on as a lushly compensated post-retirement “consultant,” the County will stumble on somehow, rudderless and in constant crisis mode.

CRYSTAL ROWLEY, responding to Chris Calder’s exit interview with Fort Bragg City Manager Tabatha Miller and her remarks about the importance of housing on the Coast:

“Perhaps if the city and or county didn't charge so much for permits, kept changing things, adding fees and making it harder to build or remodel we would see a few more houses. I hear contractors complain all the time about the fees and cost implemented on them. There are a few vacant, abandoned looking buildings in need of repairs or tear downs, why can't those property owners be contacted to do something. I'm aware some can't afford anything, but why not sell to someone who could do something…”

HOW TO SOMEHOW restrain chatline hogs (and trolls) is again raging at MCN, aka Mendocino Community Network, where a handful of unhinged shut-ins post their every thought all day every day. This MCN comment nicely sums up the chatline dilemma: “The issue has been addressed in venues far larger than these list-serves. Like it or not, places on the internet like Facebook, Twitter, etc. have decided that hate speech, personal threats, threats of violence and terrorism — kill videos, chopping off people’s heads etc. are simply unacceptable. It's not about ‘free speech’ because words and pictures do matter and psychos can and do ruin it for everyone.” 

I TRY to keep the ava's comment function free of too many comments by the frequents without shutting them down altogether, and keep it as free as possible from the anti-vaxx nuts who endlessly probe its perimeters with misinformation of the type that can kill people naive enough to believe it. (The chronic offenders are mostly men, of course.)

I'M RECONCILED to the outpatients. There are sooooooo many of them home alone all day — atomized, in the fancy intellectual term for social isolation — with only the consolation of hoping, somehow, somewhere, someone is listening, their eternal quest a kind of Hubble space telescope mission, endlessly on futile searches of the cyber-universe for human contact.

AOC drives the rightwing crazier than they are naturally. Get this gratuitously irrelevant inclusion of AOC in a headline from The Daily Mail: “Queer' Rhodes Scholar (and AOC fan) who claimed she grew up poor and in foster care loses her scholarship after officials learned she grew up in middle-class family with a radiologist mother and attended $30,000-a-year private school!”

Dave Spaur

FORT BRAGG ADVOCATE reporter Megan Wutzke reported this week that the Fort Bragg City Council had hired Dave Spaur, the city’s Economic Development Director, as “Interim City Manager.” Before coming to Fort Bragg Mr. Spaur was an Economic Development specialist in Sacramento. 

OUR COUNTY'S SHRINKING PRINT MEDIA: Here's the “official” letter from The Willits News about how they'll be doing a Willits section in the Ukiah Daily Journal rather than print a separate Willits paper. Note the part about how they can't hire anyone. No surprise, considering the likely wage and that rentals are scarce and expensive in Willits as they are everywhere in the county:

January 5, 2021

Dear Willits News subscribers.

We wanted to let you know that starting on January 19, The Willits News will become a Wednesday/Saturday edition of The Ukiah Daily Journal. As everyone is likely aware, our local economy has been negatively impacted by the bypass and the pandemic. We have also been up against a strong and competent competitor. In addition, most newspapers across the county have bene experiencing a 4% annual decline in subscribers each year for some time, this has increased during COVID. These factors, along with a lack of interest by potential editorial staff to apply for our Willits opening have brought us to the point where we have to make this change. You’ll still get the regular features, community listings, and Willits based stories on Wednesday and Saturday, that you receive in The Willits News, but combined with Ukiah news. 

Thank you for your support and please continue to subscribe.

Kevin McConnell, Group Publisher

The Ukiah Daily Journal and The Willits News

(Mendocino County’s local newspaper.)

SAD, historically speaking, but if Willits did not have the lively and always informative, privately owned Willits Weekly, the hedge fund chain that owns the TWN and UDJ would surely have consolidated them back in 2016, the year they did so much consolidation and sold off newspaper real estate across the country and here in Mendo.

THE LATE DAN McKEE (former reporter for the Daily Journal and later for the Willits Weekly) always predicted an eventual Lake Mendocino County Record Journal or some such county-wide combo would materialize. The UDJ, we understand, is moving/has moved to an even smaller office in Ukiah, without the big parking lot.

BAD DAY FOR POOR OLD JOE: The Supreme Court, predictably, has blocked is vaccine-or-test mandate for private companies with 100 or more employees, in a decision handed down on Thursday. The high court did however allow a vaccine mandate for employees at health care facilities receiving federal dollars to go into effect. In a 6-3 decision the court's conservative majority concluded the administration overstepped its authority by seeking to impose the rule on large US businesses. Roughly 84 million people would have been affected. The decision to allow the mandate on healthcare workers in Medicare and Medicaid-funded settings fell 5-4, with Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh siding with liberal Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Stephen Breyer. It's the latest blow in a devastating day for Biden, who just in the last few hours failed to gin up support among Senate Democrats to scuttle the filibuster and pass voting rights legislation. 

WAR CLOUDS GATHER: Russia warns it will resort to “military means” if the West does not bow to its demands over Ukraine and says US sanctions against Putin would “cross a line” — the live fire line presumably. Since Putin doesn't jive around....

THE PROPOSED VOTING HOLIDAY would be a better idea if there were any guarantee that voting would increase much if people got a day off. Roughly half of eligible people vote now, which is not encouraging. Voting oughta be mandatory, I say, as an obligation of citizenship in the kind of sort of like maybe quasi-democratic country we are presumed to enjoy. 

THE NORTHCOAST is gerrymandered, like many areas of the state, to ensure corporate Democrats forever, hence Mendo’s party-selected reps, Huffman, Wood, McGuire and, for local, Gjerde, Williams, Mulheren, McGourty, Haschak, and every other lesser elected body in Mendo.  Everywhere you look, suffocating, lockstep flab glab lib labs.

JADE TIPPETT ON COAST HOSPITAL BOARD: 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. 

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.

WE'LL SEE. There's no evidence that Jan 6 was anything more than a riot. If it had been a serious attempt by this country's remedial readers to retain Orange Man we 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 kamikaze 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. 

MARTIN LUTHER KING. Best biography remains Marshall Frady’s Martin Luther King, Jr.: A Life, Penguin edition. 

SO WE ALL take a day off, on the off chance we have a job to take off from, to celebrate Martin Luther King’s birthday. The in-school discussion, if there is one about King, will emphasize his commitment to non-violence as a tactic to achieve full citizenship for Black Americans. Memorial editorials will leave out King’s commitment to economic justice. King was routinely denounced in the mainstream media before his martyrdom as a Com-dupe, a libel fed the media by the FBI, these days rehabbed by the Democrats as an heroic, a-political police agency who will slay the Orange Monster's cult-brained followers. King was murdered just as he became outspokenly critical of the War on Vietnam, American imperialism generally, and the multi-ethnic, color-blind class structure of poverty. The way King is remembered these days is as the guy who made corporate faves like Condoleeza Rice and Colin Powell possible.

MARTIN LUTHER KING memorials will emphasize his commitment to non-violence to achieve full citizenship for Black Americans, leaving out King’s commitment to economic justice, for which the FBI circulated the libel that he was a communist and was murdered just as he became outspokenly critical of the War on Vietnam, American imperialism generally, and the multi-ethnic, color-blind class structure of American poverty. The way King is often remembered these days is as the guy who made Condoleeza Rice and Colin Powell possible.

NOT TO BE TOO much of a geezer about it, but I was there, a foot soldier on the left when King was besieged from all directions, denounced practically on a daily basis in the media of the 1960s, and written off by the left for his non-violent strategies and ridiculed for his Christianity. 

KING was among the very bravest figures of those low times, beginning every day without police protection for himself and his family, not knowing if he or his wife and children would survive the day. 

THE DAY AFTER KING was finally murdered, I was leafletting for a protest rally on Market Street when a young guy walked up and started screaming vile insults about how happy he was that King was dead. I thought I was going to have to fight the great white knight before he walked away. That guy was the only negative on the whole day. Everyone else who took a leaflet or stopped to talk was sympathetic and shocked at King's murder. But I still remember that one encounter as emblematic of '68, and hadn't experienced anything like it since until these Tiki Torch clowns, emboldened by the Trump election, started popping up around the country.

SAN FRANCISCO back in the day was not at all the liberal bastion it has since become. Sort of. The City was strictly, militantly segregated up through the 1970s, and the cops routinely busted gay bars just for the hell of it.

I HAVE VIVID MEMORIES of the assassination of Martin Luther King. My daughter had just been born at Kaiser Hospital in San Francisco. Her delivery doctor was barefoot and wore a flower behind his ear. I remember feeling that I should probably check his credentials. I was driving a cab, writing bad poetry and working to overthrow the government for all the reasons King himself perfectly articulated — the insane war on Vietnam at the expense of home front spending. My brother had just gotten out of the federal penitentiary at Lompoc for refusing to register for the draft. He was the first guy in the state to refuse to register and had been packed off in '64. Just as he was leaving prison, my cousin, sentenced out of Arizona, was arriving at Lompoc on the same charges that had locked up my brother. Cousin Jim was the first guy in Arizona to get prison time for refusing to register. Years later, as a public defender here in Mendo, DA Massini always referred to him as "The Felon."

I WAS WATCHING the news when the announcements that King had been shot began. Later that night, Yellow Cab Dispatch warned us to stay out of Hunter's Point and the Fillmore District because men were shooting at cab toplights. I tried to find confirmation that this was true but never did. No driver I knew had had it happen to him. But it was a bad time generally in San Francisco with lots of violent street crime and hard drugs mowing down acres of flower children, hastening the “back-to-the-land” movement that would form the Mendocino County we see around us today.

I HAD A WIFE and two small children and no money. But cab driving, in the San Francisco of 1968, could pay the bills out of the cash it generated, and I "managed" the slum apartment building we lived in at 925 Sacramento at the mouth of the Stockton Tunnel, perhaps the noisiest residential neighborhood in the world, with horns honking and idiot shrieks emanating from the tunnel's echo chamber round-the-clock.

I GOT A FREE apartment in return for my management, which consisted of doing absolutely nothing because rents were mailed directly to Coldwell Banker. The Nude Girl On A Swing was our immediate neighbor. She sailed out of the ceiling naked every night at a North Beach nightclub over a sea of upturned faces. Her act was a big draw, and more evidence that the male species is generally pathetic. She was also a junkie whose dope head boyfriend threatened to kill me one night when I stopped him from beating her up. We headed north, too, soon after, but not "back to the land," just out of the city and, purely by accident, we landed in Boonville.

HERE'S AN excerpt from the MLK speech that probably got him killed, the last straw for the guardians of a corrupt system. You’re unlikely to hear it repeated at the occasions memorializing him:

“I should make it clear that while I have tried to give a voice to the voiceless on Vietnam and to understand the arguments of those who are called enemy, I am as deeply concerned about our troops there as anything else. For it occurs to me that what we are submitting them to in Vietnam is not simply the brutalizing process that goes on in any war where armies face each other and seek to destroy. We are adding cynicism to the process of death, for they must know after a short period there that none of the things we claim to be fighting for are really involved. Before long they must know that their government has sent them into a struggle among Vietnamese, and the more sophisticated surely realize that we are on the side of the wealthy and the secure while we create hell for the poor. Somehow this madness must cease. We must stop now. I speak as a child of God and brother to the suffering poor of Vietnam. I speak for those whose land is being laid waste, whose homes are being destroyed, whose culture is being subverted. I speak for the poor of America who are paying the double price of smashed hopes at home and death and corruption in Vietnam. I speak as a citizen of the world, for the world as it stands aghast at the path we have taken. I speak as an American to the leaders of my own nation. The great initiative in this war is ours. The initiative to stop it must be ours. There is something seductively tempting about stopping there and sending us all off on what in some circles has become a popular crusade against the war in Vietnam. I say we must enter the struggle, but I wish to go on now to say something even more disturbing. The war in Vietnam is but a symptom of a far deeper malady within the American spirit, and if we ignore this sobering reality we will find ourselves organizing clergy — and laymen — concerned committees for the next generation. They will be concerned about Guatemala and Peru. They will be concerned about Thailand and Cambodia. They will be concerned about Mozambique and South Africa. We will be marching for these and a dozen other names and attending rallies without end unless there is a significant and profound change in American life and policy. Such thoughts take us beyond Vietnam, but not beyond our calling as sons of the living God." — Martin Luther King Jr., April 1967


[1] I took my two shots and felt wonderful, invigorated, brimming with vitality. I will be taking my booster shot just as soon as the bartender gets back from his break.

[2] I’m thinking about Covid this morning.

As of 1/10/2022, 9183 Mendocino County residents have been officially diagnosed with the illness. One hundred and nine folks – friends, neighbors, family matriarchs and patriarchs, caregivers – have died from COVID.

This is approximately a ratio of 1.187 deaths for every hundred people infected.

Think about those odds for a moment. If I had a one in a hundred chance of being killed by a stray bullet, I wouldn’t like the odds. If I had a one in a hundred chance of winning a million dollars, I might take them. The outcome is what makes the odds attractive, or unattractive.

In the case of COVID, there’s no million dollar prize. But you might wind up with a million dollar hospital bill, a dead spouse or parent or child, a long term illness for yourself or severe side effects from being intubated and anesthetized for weeks. Your kidneys or other organs may be permanently affected. You may need dialysis.

The best case scenario is you are asymptomatic and you don’t suffer – but possibly make others ill. The second best case scenario is having a mild case – which in the case of people I know meant nausea and diarrhea, horrible headaches and fever, and struggling to breath, eat and sleep for a few weeks. Some lost their sense of taste for weeks or months. Some food still does not taste right. Some are still fatigued easily, months later.

This new viral disease was discovered in Dec 2019. In April of 2020, our county saw the first case. It has taken 21 months but now we are up to 9183 cases.

I know masking and vaccinations and safety precautions are tiring. I know people want to “get back to normal.” But the only reason we have only lost 109 people is because the 9,183 positive cases have been spread over 21 months. If all of these people had gotten sick at the same time, our health care system would have collapsed long ago.

As it is our healthcare teams are exhausted and strained and burning out from 25 months of stress and illness and hard work. Health care workers are caring for ill people – while doing all the juggling that regular people are doing and complaining about: helping others deal with the stress and worry of a changed society, sorting out childcare and schooling, delaying vacations and family events, working longer hours and covering extra shifts because their coworkers are ill or in quarantine.

Yes, it’s frustrating that this seems to go on and on. But that seems to be the best way there is of managing this. The alternative is medical system collapse and all the accompanying social side effects of that – including many preventable deaths, closing of all public facilities and other places of business where people gather, and high numbers of sick or dead neighbors, families and friends because there is no functioning health care system.

Getting back to normal is not happening this year. That’s obvious from some very simple math. This thing needs to run its course, and that will take time, as there are still many people it has not reached yet. As the virus mutates, we can only hope it continues to evolve into a more systemic but less deadly variant. In the meantime, wear a mask, get vaccinated and please be kind and supportive whenever you can to whoever you can.

[3] Back in the 1960s I was living in Ukiah, CA, which was declared to be one of the 7 safest US locations in the event of a nuclear war.

This information attracted Jim Jones and his followers to the area, but over 900 of these Peoples Temple cult members still ended up dying prematurely. By the way, no atomic devices were ever detonated — they died from other causes.

[4] Mendo’s political class is dominated by incompetent, wishy-washy liberals/Democrats with big egos and no management experience and very little political experience. They specialize in the kind of empty blather that passes for political action. Yes, they claimed that their raise was to attract “better candidates,” but nobody believed that. It was obviously a way to pay “them” and their fellow lib-labs more. Colfax basically said as much, as did Kendall Smith. To them, going to meetings, rubber-stamping expenditures, and “developing contacts” passes for “work.” Not only do you never hear from most of them again after they leave office, but they can’t cite a single decent accomplishment, or even an attempt at a decent accomplishment. They depend on their constituents to not pay attention to what they actually do or don’t do. And by and large it works.

[5] When it’s down to a handful of second-rate politicians like Dan Quayle (!), Liz Cheney and Mitt Romney as the only thing standing between the quasi-democracy we have today and a wholesale rejection of all remaining American democratic (small “d) institutions, well you know this country is in serious trouble.

Dan Quayle? Seriously? It took a chat with the intellectual powerhouse *Dan Quayle* to finally convince Mike Pence not to overturn the will of 81 million American voters in 2020? 

Yikes. One has to scrape pretty far down to the bottom of the barrel to dredge up any “profiles of courage” left in the Republican Party these days. The Democratic Party ain’t a heckuva lot better, but at least they aren’t working 24/7 to turn this country into a one-party autocracy led by man-child with the charming maturity of a fourth-grader.

[6] Once in a while I’ll see some tattoos that are aesthetically pleasing. 

I think when people try to make them meaningful instead of simply aesthetic it always comes off as pure douchebaggery. I’m pretty sure you can remember your grandmother without that hummingbird tattoo.

[7] 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. 

[8] HEMP, an on-line comment: 

Young-timers might want to find a copy of Chris Conrad’s book “Hemp-lifeline to the future.” Farmers were encouraged to grow hemp for the U.S. military during WWII. George H.W, Bush, the one with courage, is said to have survived the crash of his WWII fighter plane, borne to the ground on parachute cords of hemp. His Navigator didn’t make it. There’s a great U.S. gov’t film from WWII extolling the virtues of hemp and encouraging farmers to grow it to help save democracy. Current events show efforts may have been futile, but I digress. Feral hemp is a boon for wildlife, sheltering and feeding mammals and birds alike. Hemp can be soft and strong as silk or rough as burlap.

There is no reason why large, nutritious seeds, excellent meds, great fabrics and rope, and great events of enhanced perception can’t be combined into one plant. Well, no reason except deeply ingrained fear and loathing, excessive regulation and onerous taxation which is destroying the California industry, especially mom-and-pop ops, while States like red Oklahoma beat us at our own game.


[9] Years ago I suggested 50 plants per grow. As something we could rally behind and push, something to protect mom n pops, spread the money out instead of concentrate it. I got laughed at. I said okay-how about 100 plants? I got laughed out of the room. Everybody wanted Big Big and BIGGER. LOTS of $$$$$. It was pretty sad to see what had become of the rural dream and the back-to-the-land philosophy. It wasn’t like they were even doing great works with the $$$, just living very high lifestyles and blinging away in a pseudo-hippie fashion. Well…here we are now. I’m seeing a couple of these guys trying to sell their permitted farms (the market is glutted) and they are heading out of here. They never cared for this place it turns out. Just wanted the bling and the cash and talked like they gave a shit….posers and parasites and leeches and douchebags jumped up and down on the bed until it broke. Here’s a funny thing- Much of the massive acreage grows up in southern Oregon, the ones that are crashing the market and killing everybody? They are Humboldt kids. Born and raised here. Went up there to destroy their hometown people. But hey- they got the bling and the cash and yeah all that…This ” strong community” turned out to be so shallow and weak in the end. The greedrushers sure tore out a chunk but it turns out to be the local kids that drive the nail into the coffin. How does that feel?

[10] The reality is that when federal legalization happens, there will be 0 shelf space for mediocre outdoor, or of any kind, but outs is just almost always sub-par. Perfectly grown outdoor (and I mean perfect) is definitely better than indoor, but nature almost never allows for that. So the issue remains that once 10k acre farms can produce autoflower for distillate, mids will be completely useless, even with a national market. Cookies is the perfect example. They are absolutely killing it because the whole business model is to create the best genetics, and produce them inside, selling them directly to the consumer. That’s where the profit is.. hemp farmers in Oregon are getting 5 dollars a pound. Yes you read that right. 20k lbs for 100k is what my neighbors contract was for. It’s the same plant. And they were still getting $10k an acre at that price. No other plant will produce nearly that return. It’s a losing battle, so any small farmers complaining that it’s unfair need to realize that farming is not a get rich quick scheme, and sell their farm before it’s too late.


  1. Douglas Coulter January 19, 2022

    I was born June 18 1953
    On that day, Dr Martin Luther King married Correta Scot
    Also the worst aviation disaster in history, a troop plane from Korea to Japan crashed.
    Fast forward to April 4 1968, I experienced my first arrest and entered the California juvenile justice meat grinder from age 14 until age 18
    The Truckee news carried the headline, Coulter Gang Rides Again
    No mention of MLK murder. I was born to be an activist.
    Enemy of State, a song for Muhammad Ali
    I’m an enemy of state I am
    Enemy of state I am I am
    Practice a religion that you abhor
    Refuse to fight in your dirty war
    If that’s all it takes to be your enemy
    Freedom of religion is a sham
    When you make all men your enemy
    Then an enemy of state I am
    Douglas Wayne Coulter, with apology to Herman’s Hermits

  2. Lazarus January 19, 2022

    “THE LATE DAN McKEE (former reporter for the Daily Journal and later for the Willits Weekly)”

    Perhaps an oversight or something else.
    Anyway, Dan McKee was the Editor of The Willits News for years. And from what I read and heard, he ran a good shop, even with his somewhat famous bazaar sense of humor.
    Welcome to the jungle,

    • Bruce Anderson January 19, 2022

      Yup. Good catch, Laz.

  3. fred gardner January 22, 2022

    Harry Belafonte and Sidney Poitier were lifelong friends. In his autobiography, “My Song” (a very good history of Our Times) Belafonte recounts how in the postwar years they were competing for rare roles in NYC (and then Hollywood), but both understood the situation and didn’t let the external pressures drive them apart.

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