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Off the Record (January 26, 2022)

BOB MCKEE HAS PASSED. For those of us in Southern Humboldt, it is as if a library burned or a giant tree uprooted. The landscape of our lives has changed a bit.

Gary Graham Hughes, the executive director of the Environmental Protection Information Center, told the North Coast Journal, “In many ways, Bob McKee was seen as the Gandalf of the back-to-the-land movement, in terms of people getting a piece of land.”

Bob McKee

McKee provided the property and the easy terms that launched hundreds of small farms in the rural hills of Southern Humboldt, in the process providing young folks fleeing the cities during the Back-to-the-Land movement a chance to purchase a piece of paradise. His daughter, Sita Formosa, reminisced for us that sometimes people would knock on her folks’ door and McKee would end up selling a piece for as little as no money down and $30 per month.

Along with his wife Valerie and their six children, he welcomed the newcomers with warmth and hospitality.

In addition, McKee’s creative mind launched his own businesses including Whitethorn Construction which has become the hub of the remote community. His descendants are woven into the fabric of the greater Humboldt area. Many in their own right shaping and moving the path of the people who live here.

Late last night, McKee took his last breath. Formosa told us that he had chosen to get surgery in San Francisco, had seemingly triumphed and was doing well when he suffered heart failure about 11:30 p.m.

Thanking everyone for their “outpouring of love and support,” Formosa said, “We feel held and comforted by the community…We really appreciate how well-loved he was by people who felt like he changed the trajectory of their lives.” She asked that the family be given some privacy now in their grief. (Kym Kemp)

ON-LINE SUGGESTIONS FOR THE BLACK ROBES following the in-and-out release of an Albion habitual:

(1) How about putting a ballot initiative that any judge who releases any criminal early or gives a pass must be held responsible for any crimes committed by this action and serve the same prison sentence as the criminal. Make that go for every member of the parole board as well. It’s time these weak judges taste a bit of what communities deal with when they make these grossly inappropriate decisions.

(2) It’s amazing how most people don’t understand that our local tweaker population, which is about 10%, commits the crimes that this guy committed on a daily basis. unless they are taking their weekly nap. maybe stop raising tweakers. once again it’s a local problem. blame yourselves. it’s only getting worse with the next round of methnecks.

OVER THE HILL to Ukiah Wednesday morning, a town that went over its own hill in 1960 or so and never found its way back, not that it seems to have looked very hard. 

MY THEORY of our county seat's decay? (I thought you'd never ask.) Ukiah is one of thousands of similarly-sized small towns whose money people, the people who used to run towns and cared what they looked like, withdrew or, as in Ukiah, cashed in on defiling what had once been the graceful little civitas of their grandfathers, a place its residents could be proud of. 

NOW? The Mannons, the Eversoles, the McCowens sit on their money while silly, irresponsible people sit on their city council and overpay their managers who, from their attractive, comfortable quarters west of State Street, collect their fat pay while their town crumbles. Those graceful civic headquarters that Ukiah boasts, not so incidentally, reside in a re-tooled, pre-WWII elementary school built in a time when Americans still cared what their public areas looked like. Today's public bureaucrats spare no expense. On themselves.

DRIVING UP State Street today at 9:30am, I counted four persons sleeping on the sidewalk as a platoon of ambulatory lost souls shuffled up and down Ukiah's main street, the town's face to the world. Between the Whispering Winds Nursery on deep South State and DFM Garage opposite the Ukiah Theater, both highly recommended by Boonville's beloved weekly, you might think Ukiah had also just been hit by the Tongan tsunami or an equivalent disaster.

AN ON-LINE COMMENT neatly sums up the prevalent contemporary opinion: “Many of the homeless need to be put some place, NOT prison but someplace. Many do not have the ability to ever take care of themselves. Don't tell me someone standing on a corner screaming at imaginary people is not gravely disabled. Many times they do not have the capacity to stay on their meds, they are after all mentally ill and it is part of the disease process they cannot keep on it.”

EARLY in the 20th century when dependent populations were much smaller, Mendocino County sponsored a County Farm out on Low Gap Road where the ever-expanding County Jail now sits. Habitual drunks and general incompetents were court-ordered to the County Farm, which was partially self-supporting because it was a functioning little farm, raising as much of its own food as it could, given the limited nature of its workforce. 

AMERICA was a much more serene country prior to WW Two, and of course our population is now much larger and dope-soaked and pornified and medicated, and… Well, how many totally sane people do you know? 

WHERE does all the money go that's supposedly devoted to caring for people unable or unwilling to care for themselves? The salaries of ineffective “helping professionals” led by more-of-the-same politicians, that's where. That money amounts to more than $30 million a year in Mendocino County as the county's floating population of permanent cripples grows by the day. 

THE SOLUTION? Renew and expand the state hospital system, just for starters. And bring back the county farm strategy as an extension of County Jails. Which is where that wandering felon who wandered into the up-market furniture store in LA and murdered the young woman working there. This guy's an extreme case, but given his violent history why was he out of custody in the first place?

AS BRIANNA KUPFER'S devastated father, Todd Kupfer, put it, “We have a lot of politicians that somehow forgot about people and think the key to getting elected is to support the lowest rung of our society and to give them rights and somehow that's the answer to getting votes.” Kupfer's 24-year-old daughter, Brianna, was murdered last Thursday when a deranged black man, who is believed to be homeless, walked into the Croft House around 1:50 p.m. and stabbed her to death. He then fled through the back door before calming down and walking down an alley. Police say it was a random attack, that the crazy man did not know the victim. The murder comes amid a huge crime surge in Los Angeles, with homicides in Los Angeles rising 52 per cent last year from 2019, and shooting incidents were up 59 per cent, according to LAPD data. 

MIKE GENIELLA: “The Press Democrat, the North Coast's venerable newspaper, remains a light in the darkness that is enveloping newspaper companies big and small. The PD's online presence is growing. Yet the print side of things seems to be sliding into oblivion. The printing plant that the PD is closing is only 35 years old. It cost the then-owner The New York Times $40 million to construct if I recall correctly. The new Rohnert Park facility was so sophisticated that 'robots' were used to load newsprint onto the shiny new presses. Eventually, the New York Times sold the PD as financial troubles engulfed its own operation. Now 40 employees will lose their job at The Press Democrat, the paper will be printed in the East Bay, and the Rohnert Park facility shuttered. A local ownership took over, which stabilized the PD. But even it had to sell the printing plant building and property in 2016 for $9.5 million to help keep the PD going. Until now, the newspaper leased back the printing plant. If I interpret this story's stats correctly, the actual daily paid circulation of the PD has fallen to around 25,000. In its heyday, when I was still a working reporter, the circulation bounced around 100,000 daily, and was delivered to Humboldt and Lake counties as well as Sonoma County. Hard to believe the current state. I am so grateful I experienced the newspaper's golden era. It provided challenging professional opportunities, a means to support my family and friendships that have spanned decades.”

ERIC GRUNDER: “A lot of that going around, Mike. Some years back, after the equity company strip miners moved in, The Record's relatively new press plant was shuttered, and printing shifted to the Sac Bee until it closed its print plant. Now what's left of The Record's print circulation is handled out of an East Bay plant. And, the paper's building, downtown home to the paper for more than 100 years, has been sold. What's left of the operation is being moved to the Waterfront Warehouse, a building that also houses the city's chamber of commerce. Gone is day-to-day coverage of major government entities, including the Stockton City Council and Stockton Unified, both of which have a history that might charitably be described as checkered.”

GENIELLA: “The newspaper industry as we knew it is in a freefall. I get the dollars and cents issues given the world of online. Yet, how do our communities get reliable information about what is going on in their own backyards? How do lawmakers local, state, and national act responsibly without feedback from their own communities? Newspapers served as that vehicle, and as a watchdog on behalf of the public. Where does it go from here?”

THE FOLLOWING NOTICE appeared in a UDJ presser about Ukiah-area youth sports: “Registration Fee: $75/player w/ $5 sibling discount. Scholarships are available.”

A $75 registration fee means Ukiah will be doling out plenty of scholarships because 75 bucks per kid is beyond the means of most Ukiah parents, but it's good to see that the city is sponsoring baseball and soccer for pre-teens, which is as it should be because the young ones enjoy the heck out of a whole range of youth sports. And, an early interest in wholesome activity in the world's most unwholesome country, may fortify the kid against the minefield of adolescence, especially children lacking attentive parents.

MY OWN grandchildren, residents of the child-centered County of Marin, have been enjoying organized sports from the age of 5 (!) beginning with t-ball, soccer, basketball, and volleyball. And they both now belong to traveling teams, the girl child with a softball team that plays in tournaments all over the Bay Area; on the side, she plays instructional volleyball. The boy child is totally into basketball and competes with a kind of Marin all-star team that hoops it up year-round, traveling as far as LA to play in tournaments for 9 and 10-year-olds. But, but, but… But is all this competition good for a child? They love it, and from my observations the coaches not only know what they're doing, they're very good with little kids, meaning they are kindly and age-sensitive, unlike the usual one or two psycho parents who confuse junior basketball with the NBA.

A READER COMMENTS: “Ukiah. It is depressing. Lived here my entire life, it is the worse I’ve ever seen. Graffiti everywhere. On city utility boxes (right in front of the courthouse on State no less), back of traffic signs within neighborhoods, and even their building in the utility yard by the airport, for months now. Why aren’t these things kept up? The old A&W property, right down town State St. by Wells Fargo Bank, look at it the next time you go by. Why is this allowed? The building behind Mountain Mike Pizza, why? Aren’t there ordinances for this kind of demise? If so, why is nothing enforced? I just don’t understand :-( And yes, I know it is everywhere, but why do we allow it?”

I THINK the above is a consensus Ukiah opinion, but the town's obvious civic dysfunction is the consequence of years of feckless leadership. Through the 1970s there was a cadre of older Ukiahans who regularly lamented Ukiah's deterioration, but one factor also has to be that people under the age of sixty have grown up amidst architectural ugliness and all its related aesthetic squalor, sooooooo a lot of people out there are genuinely puzzled when us geezers complain about appearances. “If you don't like it, stay the hell over the hill in Boonville,” a guy once said to me. “Boonville isn't exactly downtown Paris.”

IF, AS MATT TAIBBI points out, the Democrats clearly stood for specific programs that a majority of Americans obviously want they'd never lose and there would be some enthusiasm for them. Taibbi: “Single-payer health care, bulk negotiation of drug prices, antitrust action against Too Big To Fail banks or Silicon Valley’s surveillance monopolists — really anything that demonstrates a willingness to prioritize voters over the takeover artists and CEOs who fund the party would have given them enduring credibility. Do that, while retaining at least a sliver of the reputation for fighting for civil rights won in the sixties, and how can you lose, ever? The numbers say you can’t, and it’s early still, but they wouldn’t be the first aristocrats to wait too long to peek out of the bubble.”

“OUR DEMOCRACY.” Quick! Tell me how our local state and federal reps are chosen? Are you, as a Demo party member, invited to participate in the selection process?

STOP the next dozen Mendo citizens in the street and ask them to name their reps. Or name the members of their local school board; or their county supervisor. 

A UKIAH HIGH MOM called me the other day to complain that Ukiah Unified has just invested a huge amount of money for “an all-weather” soccer field. The school vaguely claims the $7.9 million expenditure will also benefit “other sports and outdoor activities,” and is only one “of many Measure A projects to benefit Ukiah schools.” Of course we live in the county whose junior college erected a gym and an NFL-quality weight room before it built a library. Book larn'n has seldom been a Mendo school priority. 

WHEN NEWSMAX’S White House reporter James Rosen asked Biden at Wednesdays shambolic press conference if he was up to the big job: “I'd like to raise a delicate subject but with utmost respect for your life accomplishments and the high office you hold, a poll released, this morning, by Politico/Morning Consult found 49% of registered voters disagreeing with the statement — ‘Joe Biden is mentally fit.’ Not even a majority of Democrats who responded strongly affirmed that statement.”

Biden laughed and said, “Well, I'll let you all make the judgment whether they're correct.”

ROSEN FOLLOWED UP: “Why do you suppose such large segments of the American electorate have come to harbor such profound concerns about your cognitive fitness?”

Biden replied, “I have no idea.”

EVEN ASSESSING a 79-year-old man who was always verbally incontinent, Biden's press conference established beyond all doubt that he's out of it, an opinion now shared by nearly half of Americans. 

POOR OLD JOE also said Wednesday that he has “outperformed” expectations, which is true, considering only party hacks had any expectation that he would be anything but a man bought years ago by the extortionate credit card companies based in Delaware.

BIDEN said he'd have done a lot better if it weren't for the Republicans. “I did not anticipate that there would be such a stalwart effort to make sure that the most important thing was that President Biden didn't get anything done. Think about this. What are Republicans for? What are they for? Name me one thing they're for. I haven't been able to do so far is get my Republican friends to get in the game and making things better in this country.” Biden later said a few Republican senators have told him privately that they're on his side but are too afraid of the Trumpers to do the right thing.

MEATLOAF is dead at age 74 from covid. A fat guy otherwise in passable health despite that obvious co-morbidity, Loaf was an anti-vaxxer. In an eerie interview five months ago, the singer had said he was “scared to death” of COVID but wouldn't be controlled by mask mandates. It remains unclear whether or not he was vaccinated — he refused to disclose it to fans, and urged them all not to “talk politics” when coming to his shows. In an interview last August, Meat said he was against politicians trying to force restrictions on people. The singer asked the journalist from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette whether or not they'd like a hug. “I'm happy to give you a hug. I hug people in the middle of COVID,” he said. 

MENDOCINO PATRIOTS: Here is a notice from these “patriots” regarding their anti-mask crusade:

“As you are aware (despite the covid narrative continuing to crumble) there are still many stores in our county who are refusing service to the “maskless.” It has been recently reported that the Safeway in Willits had begun enforcing a forced masking policy, and has even gone as far as refusing to checkout the “maskless” despite valid exemptions, and conscious choice.

A few of us made calls to their corporate headquarters with our experience, and were later contacted by the store manager. At least for now, the Safeway in Willits will continue to serve the “maskless” without discrimination.

Since this tactic has proven effective, we would like to amplify our voice at other stores. If you have experienced this sort of discrimination, please share your experience with the Mendocino Patriots, so we can discuss a phone outreach plan for that store. In doing this, we may be able to clean up more of these anti-freedom driven establishments.”

 (via Chuck Dunbar)

MIKE GENIELLA: So the 'Mendocino Patriots' are continuing their foot-stomping over local mask requirements. They sent out a call for a rally later today in front of the Mendocino County Courthouse in downtown Ukiah. The notice declares 'victory' over Safeway in Willits. I am a Safeway customer in Ukiah. If the company backs off its mask policies in face of our local omicron virus surge, it is spineless. I will not spend another dime there. What intimidating BS on the part of so-called patriots. Shame on you.

AT A Democratic National Committee fat cat event last Friday billed as a grassroots occasion but occurring without the roots, Biden kicked off with, “Hi, Kamala. I love you. You always have my back. You're really amazing. You're the best partner I could imagine.” Harris burble-gushed back, “I do!” (Gag me.)

AN IDIOT'S GUIDE to the looming war in Ukraine. Putin is obviously going to invade the Ukraine vastness to annex the pro-Russian Ukrainian border areas. When poor old Joe said he'd tolerate a minor incursion, POJ was probably only parroting what he'd heard his brain trust saying in between his applesauce and fourth nap of the day. There's nothing stopping Putin and, from Putin’s ruthless perspective, he naturally doesn't want more NATO missiles aimed at him from nearby. And he has Europe and US by the nuts because Russia supplies most of Europe with its winter heat, which has prompted Germany to already claim neutrality when Putin moves on Ukraine. 

WHY NOT, there are only three oil change emporiums already in the immediate neighborhood of the ghastly, sparsely visited Holiday high rise eyesore.

“At its next virtual meeting Wednesday, the Ukiah Planning Commission will consider a permit requested for a business proposing to offer quick oil changes and other automobile services on Airport Park Boulevard. According to the staff report prepared for the Jan. 26 meeting, applicant Jeff Yokum is requesting a “Major Use Permit to allow the development of a new 2,137 square-foot Valvoline Quick Lube Facility at 1280 Airport Park Boulevard.” The lot is located across the street from Costco, and next to the newly opened Holiday Inn Express.”

THE ENTIRE EXPANSE of Ukiah’s Commercial Blvd is an unplanned mess, anchored at the south end by the Hotel Grozny and that sprawling dope op that used to be a brewery, but it being the only proportionate, attractive structure in that area built in the old mission style by, of all people, an East Indian immigrant who arrived with a fully developed aesthetic sense that put him ahead of Civic Ukiah.

REALISTICALLY, the Niners are playing as if under a spell. The breaks that traditionally went against them every time in crucial situations (Preston Riley, for those of you with long and bitter memories, fumbling an onside kick against the Cowboys in 1972; Roger Craig's last carry as a Niner, a fumble against New York which put the Giants in the Super Bowl) are evening out (thanks forever, Dwight). Now, the team expects to win, even when they have no first downs, no points, even no positive yards. It's catching; we do too. The Chron's entire roster of sports reporters on Friday picked against them. But the noble, venerable Packers blinked, twice (Ward, Willis — blocks). That said, I think they're overmatched against Tampa Bay. But if the Rams should somehow win today… Jimmy and Company can be back in the Super Bowl. Somebody has to win this thing. Why not S.F.?

‘POWER OF THE DOG,’ a movie by Jane Campion. On the recommendation of Jonah Raskin, my wife and I watched it, both of us concluding it held our interests but also agreeing that the narrative was nonsensical, unlike Forty-Niner football and the Forensic Files we most enjoy. The story is set on a Montana cattle ranch, circa 1920. But the acting is so good the thing carries us along with it. I remember thinking pretty much the same thing about Ms. Campion's much praised The Piano, also a preciously PC film that featured a deaf babe who persuaded photogenic Maoris depicted as joyously humping her piano over hill and dale while she fended off a male suitor before boffing him just before the curtain came down. Power of the Dog is a similarly preciously PC-themed filmic statement that homophobia can be lethal, which most of us know, however dimly. So we get a fey kid portrayed as stereotypically, mincingly gay who is drawn to the finer things for which he's humiliated by the closet case who is part owner of the ranch and his cowboys. I seriously doubt ranch hands would dare insult a lad who is related to the boss but they do in this movie to make the director’s heavy handed point, and often, too. Where dog power fits here beats me, but it's Old Testament, Psalm 22:20, which reads: “Deliver my soul from the sword; my darling from the power of the dog.”

YEARS AGO I was invited to be the anti-pot arguer debating a pending pro-pot initiative. The superintendent of the Ukiah schools had partnered up with me, both of us having been selected for the big event at Ukiah City Hall by some mysterious lib lab selection process. The Super was a defeated-looking guy hanging on to retire whose sole argument was that marijuana was bad for young people. He was correct, but his hooch pallor wasn't a convincing my body, my temple visual. There were a lot of cops in the large audience, one of whom joked after the session, “We were surprised to see your commie ass up there, Anderson.” The pro-dope speakers were Dan Hamburg, a life stoner who mentally wigged totally out a few years later as a supervisor, and Doctor Peter Keegan, who later bludgeoned his wife to death, not the best advocates for weed but the stoners thought they'd be boffo. The pro pot people in the audience seemed to be led, appropriately enough, by a guy in a clown suit and they hooted throughout, solidifying their ongoing reputation for smug idiocy. But in my humble opinion, even with Superintendent Millstone on our side, we carried the night but to no practical effect since the measure passed overwhelmingly.   


[1] The Sears catalogue was a staple in our house.

Some weeks before Christmas my parents went through the catalogue to find the items we children needed—socks, etc. We knew that they were choosing our Christmas presents. When the Sears cartons arrived my mother emptied them and wrapped the items and put them under the tree..

Santa Claus did not exist. 

As the third girl I rarely got anything new, but at Christmas I would get a few new things.

The Sears catalogue—about an inch and a half thick—also was the source of quite a lot of entertainment and rainy-day activities. My sister and I would leaf through the pages, choosing our favorite item on the page. Some items were mysterious, of course. Another pastime was to guess the other person’s favorite item on the page . . . 

I think some towns also had Sears stores, where you could go and look at the catalogue and place your orders. For decades the Sears catalogue was basically an umbilical cord for consumer goods’ flow to rural families.

[2] The world has gone mad. First, I don’t think there’s any global WEF plot to decimate world population. To me, that’s a paranoid delusion. Yeah, population may be lowered, but not because some group wants it to happen. What’s the point? Also, intentional population lowering is extremely dangerous. We could do it via nuclear war, but we would probably ruin the world. Who would want to spend their lives in a protected silo of some sort?

Creating a deadly virus is too unpredictable because viruses mutate. Being inoculated against the original version would offer immunity, but a mutated version could kill everyone, including the so-called elites. Look what’s happening with covid. It’s not a civilization-killer, but if it was intentionally created for gain of function purposes against a specific political group, the elites have failed miserably. There’s a lot of evidence that every jabbed person will not die by the end of winter, as several people here have stated.

No, I believe human stupidity has caused our problems, not a plot. We’ve reproduced like there’s no tomorrow – in effect a self-fulfilling prophecy of potential doom; we’re destroying our environment; and we’ve made a slew of selfish and wrong decisions. Our situation today is a result of our own lack of responsibility (a la Don’t Look Up) not because of a relative handful of elites.

[3] Human equivalent AI is slated to hit the world in the early 2030s, and shortly after that all jobs that can be done by a human being will be done, better, faster, more reliably, longer, without breaks, sleep, vacations or sick time, by machines. Let me repeat that. There will be no job a person can do that a machine won't do better, cheaper.

So we will all be out of work. All of us. There will be two divergent options;

It will either be a golden time for humanity, liberated from labor, and subsidized by autonomous corporations who pay citizens a stock share at birth and whose dividends sustain them throughout life, people will be free to learn, play, and create, and become whatever they dream of becoming.


The wealth will concentrate into the hands of several thousand godlike humans, and they will see to the extermination of the surplus population to prevent possible class war.

Those are kind of the two game plans... sure there are variations on the theme, but they end in the same place.

The worst part being, the folks in charge are not wise, not learned, not morally superior, not deeply educated on what will make the world a better place. They are simply wealthy and have the power to get what they want over the bleaching bones of the rest of us... and in the process of blindly gratifying their bottomless appetites, they'll burn down the planet, and bring an end to sentient life here.

And that will be the end to the possibility that humanity presented. Or we'll get on the stick, and make a better world, but it's getting way late boys and girl, tick tock... no time to hang out and ponder.

[4] Neocons have made a fetish of 1938; in retrospect they would have done better looking hard at 1933. There is a simple formula for descriptions of Donald Trump: add together a qualification, a hyphen, and the word “fascist.” The sum may be crypto-fascist, neo-fascist, latent fascist, or American-variety fascist—one of that kind, all the same. Future political scientists will analyze (let us hope in amused retrospect, rather than in exile in New Zealand or Alberta) the precise elements of Poujadisme, Peronism and Huck Finn’s Pap that compound in Trump’s “ideology.” But his personality and his program belong exclusively to the same dark strain of modern politics: an incoherent program of national revenge led by a strongman; a contempt for parliamentary government and procedures; an insistence that the existing, democratically elected government, whether Léon Blum’s or Barack Obama’s, is in league with evil outsiders and has been secretly trying to undermine the nation; a hysterical militarism designed to no particular end than the sheer spectacle of strength; an equally hysterical sense of beleaguerment and victimization; and a supposed suspicion of big capitalism entirely reconciled to the worship of wealth and “success.” It is always alike, and always leads inexorably to the same place: failure, met not by self-correction but by an inflation of the original program of grievances, and so then on to catastrophe. The idea that it can be bounded in by honest conservatives in a Cabinet or restrained by normal constitutional limits is, to put it mildly, unsupported by history…To associate such ideas too mechanically with the rise of some specific economic anxiety is to give the movement and its leader a dignity and sympathy that they do not deserve.’ 

— Adam Gopnik

[5] Good grief. This fire. The fire on Geyser Peak. In late January. And a big one near Big Sur. After a generous amount of rain. What the heck is going on??? Having lost a home in the Tubbs Fire, my anxiety level goes up every time we experience one of these Diablo Wind events during “fire season,” but I was not terribly concerned about the winds last night knowing that the landscape was green and well watered. My mistake. It now appears that “fire season” never actually ends. This is very discouraging. 

[6] American football is not very athletic at all. Seems to me it’s stoppage time most of the time, while fat men in tights talk. One second of action, 10 or 20 of non-action.

Baseball is not very demanding, either, in aerobic terms.

Basketball is different. And there have been cases of players collapsing in the US, I believe. And elsewhere.

Football – soccer – is one of the most demanding sports, period. You just cannot play it if you’re not fit as a fiddle. 

ED REPLY: Some football players at the high levels of the game may look fat, but modern training methods keep them as fit, or almost as fit, as basketball players. Nick Bosa, the Niners great defensive end. has the lowest body fat on the team, and he comes in at 265. Agree about baseball, but even baseball players these days are gym rats, not the ballplayers of my youth who smoked between innings. Soccer is a great game for staying in reasonable shape. I'm glad to see it catching on in the U.S.

[7] TREELESS FORT BRAGG, an on-line comment

Trees are absent (mostly) from the sidewalks of Ft Bragg because as anyone who lives in town knows(I lived downtown 20 years), the wind comes in from the coast practically every day and withers them unless really protected. You’ll see survivors bent over and stunted on the side of the prevailing winds. Cypresses are the few that survive but don’t have a particularly long lifespan. There is a “tree line” along the coast below which not many trees thrive. 


This issue is much bigger than a garbage dump. It's 270 acres acquired through a phony eminent domain claim which was really a hand shake deal between Tweedle Dee Dee and Tweedle Dee Dum, what you might call a back door deal, one which, because Sierra Railroad is a “utility” (which the Skunk by definition is not), sets it up so that remediation of toxic dioxin may not happen. Not only that, any development remotely connected to the “railroad”, which the Skunk is not, will not be liable to state or local zoning or virtually any kind of local control. 

Oh, and did I say that this claiming of land by Sierra Railroad and the sale by the Koch Bros. did an end run around the City of Fort Bragg, which had its own plans for the mill site. One which must have been more local friendly and was in the making for many years. 

Oh, and where is the water coming from for hundreds of new housing units, condos, restaurants, hotels, etc? Now if they were proposing a water desalinization plant, I might be a little more receptive to a corporate takeover of Fort Bragg. How is the traffic going to handled? Police, fire protection? Will local schools be large enough to accommodate the influx of students? Will our already stressed medical system be able to handle the influx of residents and tourists? Will the City of Fort Bragg have to put in services to these 270 acres? How will that be paid for? 

This plan Stinks! 

Yes, the Mendocino Coast is being railroaded.


One thing you are not considering is the amount of weed being grown now compared to 20 years ago. The farms now are HUGE! 20 to 30 years our economy was doing great and people were only growing 50-100 pound harvests. The amount of resources it takes to grow small crops is minimal, but somehow we thrived and yes higher cannabis prices did help. Fast forward 20-30 years and now people are growing thousands of pounds a year on one farm. The amount of resources it takes to grow tons of weed in enormous. We've had a huge economic boom the last 5 to 10 years with the giant harvests coming in. Land and home prices sky rocketed. Many locals and long-time residents got priced out of the game by green rushers, cartels and outside investors. No one could care less about all the people who helped create this local industry that went under along the way. They were replaceable and it seems everyone in the industry was ok with it because they were making money. Now the tide has turned and the millionaires are starting to feel the pinch. That's capitalism. Everyone thought they could grow their way out of the problem. The answer was grow more and more and more. So, where did that lead us? To the Flood! Now there is a flood of cannabis because all the millionaires grew too much. Supply & Demand. Cannabis is way over supplied so the price is down. Let the free market play out. Let the bad operators and people that don't know how to run a business go under. Let our hill prices go down, so REAL locals can once again afford land. Let us, the real people, of Humboldt take our land back from all the bad actors that have taken over the industry. As far as supplies go places like Dazey's has to be having record sales the last few years. Think of how much more dirt, fertilizer, Pesticide, plastic and all the other stuff you need to grow tons of weed and this is per parcel, for each legal farm. Some farms are growing 2,000-500,000-1,000,000 pounds now. Look at the recent bust in Oregon. I would beg to differ in your assumption that cannabis related material and supply sales are down. There has never been this much weed grown in the history of the planet! Let that sink in. With this enormous amount of plants being grown there has NEVER been this much money spent in the cannabis industry as the last 5 years. That's a Fact! So the rich millionaire growers are sitting on thousands of pounds they can't sell. That sounds like a you problem. You grew too much. You bit off more than you can chew. You(legal farmer) don't know how to run a legitimate business. These are not community problems. Our community in Humboldt will be fine whether these multi ton cannabis farms make it or not. We did great before they arrived and maybe we could go back to the old days if they closed up shop and Left, but I know that is wishful thinking. Also you are not taking into account the raging Black/Traditional market. Those guys still need supplies, land, workers etc. They are still making good money. What percentage of Humboldt growers are on the white or black/traditional market? Is 30%, 50%, 80%? I'm not sure but it's a lot and they spend money and many of them are “real” locals and not people that moved here just to take over our land and businesses and profit off what we created. I think the free market should play out, the county should still receive their taxes and we should just let people that are not running their business properly go under like any other industry.

On a side note, what is the deal with all the local dispensaries? Go to Arcata or Eureka and there is like 50 in each town. I know that's an exaggeration, but it sure looks like it and they're all empty. With only 1,000-2000 dispensaries in an entire state with millions of people why does our little county have so many? Once again poor planning. We gave out too many licenses to operate. Now there is too much dispensary supply and now those owners are hurting. It's not because people stopped smoking weed it's an oversupply issue. Too many dispensaries means too many choices for consumers which means less sales per business. I think one of Humboldt's biggest problems is management. The people issuing permits and licensing have no idea how economics and business work. If we are going to correct this cannabis “problem” we are going to need more qualified people calling the shots. The cannabis problem is a direct result of those in charge of running it.


“When I was in the oil business in the 1920s they used to bring booze into Noyo Harbor. One big ship I remember especially, the Zozal. It was a big boat, painted black to make it less visible. I used to have to go down there with my fuel truck and fuel them up. The diesel outfit. That's the first time I ever saw a split of champagne. It came hidden in a straw container. They gave me a couple of them. They always paid cash of course. There was a lot of bootlegging on the coast in the 1920s. Oh, the law just made noises, they tried. Toward the end I think they slacked off. It was almost too dangerous. They landed liquor in many many places on the Coast that I know of starting down at Gualala and up north as well. Money was made. Pretty near any Italian family who has money now usually got it from bootlegging. There's quite a few of their descendants around town. Some really made it. It was completely out of control towards the end. You could knock on every other door in the south part of town and they would probably be a bootleg joint and you could buy a drink. There were many of them. The demand was probably not heavy enough for the supply. I think it cost you 50¢ a drink for jackass which was nearly straight alcohol. You got a lot more alcohol for your money than you do now in the drink. It was so strong that you had to dilute it, you couldn't just drink it. One of the big dairy farmers down near Greenwood ran a large still and he used to haul the jackass whiskey up to Fort Bragg with a load of hogs.”

— Frank Petersen, ‘Fort Bragg Remembered’

* * *

“About a year or two prior to the end of Prohibition when I was working for the Shell Oil Co. down on the river, seven rum-runners came into Noyo Harbor at one time. Rum-runners were the ones who brought in the booze. Outside the 12 mile limit was a Canadian mothership loaded with Canadian whiskey. These were fast boats. One of them was called the Thor. It had two 300 horsepower Liberty motors. It was about 50 feet long and could run away from the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard had no chance. They unloaded where the Caito Brothers fishery is now. It was an unusual boat. It had a deep hole so it could carry a big load of whiskey. It came down here and it would unload via those rum-runners. In those days brandy came in sacks about 12 bottles to a sack and it was hidden in straw. Seven fishery workers were recruited and told to get in a big truck. One guy stood over them with a tommy gun. They would pass the sacks of booze over to the truck and put them in although it was pitch dark. One guy got the idea he was going to see if he could get away with a couple of the sacks. Behind him was a big patch of nettles, so he threw a couple sacks into those nettles. But they knew how many sacks were in the boat and they knew how many sacks they had to have on the truck. After it was over the fellow with the tommy gun came over and said there were two sacks missing. He said, ‘Okay fellows, we're two sacks short here. What happened to them?’ Nobody would say anything. So the guy said, ‘Ok, if nobody here is going to admit anything about where the sacks are, we're ongoing to start chopping off fingers. So –’ The guy then admitted he threw the two sacks down in the nettles. ‘All right young man, take off your clothes,’ the gun guy said. They made him take off his clothes and jump in the nettles and retrieve those two sacks. You know what nettles are? Oh boy! That's just one of those stories from the Prohibition era.”

— Albert Penitenti, ‘Fort Bragg Remembered’


  1. Douglas Coulter January 26, 2022

    Did you know?
    Santa Claus was invented by Coca Cola
    The jolly fat man in a red suit

  2. Patti Fereira February 4, 2022

    The photo of the moonshine still featured in Fort Bragg Remembered on page 207 within the interview of Albert Penitenti actually belonged to my grandfather, John G. Fereira. It was located on the Noyo River. I have three other photos of the still, one of which shows it ablaze. Pretty sure these photos are from law enforcement documentation (my aunt was married to the local sheriff back in the day)… that’s my theory, anyway.

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