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Off the Record (February 23, 2022)

EMERALD SUN SETS: A couple of licensed Mendo pot growers who were supplying primo bud to Emerald Sun, the newish Ukiah bud wholesaler, tell us that Emerald Sun has fired something like two dozen people and is about to close up. Suppliers remain unpaid for who-knows-how-much cannabis that the suppliers “sold” to Emerald Sun and Emerald Sun isn't returning their product or their calls. Emerald Sun, for those who may not follow the local cannabis biz, is an investment partnership that bought the distinctive old Ukiah Brewing Company building on Airport Road in 2019. (Visible from 101) But their timing turned out to be unfortunate as the pot market, legal and illegal, has taken a major downturn. Late last year the partnership got a permit from the City of Ukiah to expand both the size of the facility and the amount of cannabis they processed. But Emerald Sun appears to be caught up in the market squeeze as prices and buyers have fallen off in recent months. The company is owned and operated by the Schlesinger family, brothers Brett (CEO) and Dean (registered agent), and their father along with other local investors. Our sources say the company is on the verge of closing, or at least major downsizing, another casualty of the declining market and Mendo's failed pot permit program.

MARK SPRINKLE is finally out of prison for the alleged sexual touching of three underage girls who'd suddenly taken their clothes off in his car. The entire Sprinkle saga can be found at the ava's website, but it was clear from the beginning that Sprinkle was set up by his spurned ex who used her voluptuous daughter to stage the seductive disrobe in his vehicle. When it was sorted out in court testimony, Sprinkle allegedly touched several breasts and affectionately patted a single vulva for a total of 90 seconds of non-violent bliss. The girls were not coerced, assaulted, beaten or raped. However, the event was plenty sordid enough for the authorities and a jury, several of them guilty of far worse, to get Sprinkle arrested and convicted of child molestation. Sprinkle has always denied that he touched any of the girls, refusing the DA's offer of 3-5 years in prison if he would plead guilty. Instead, he went to trial and was found guilty. (Note to the Defendant Community. Take the 3-5 or suffer the majorly vindictive consequences.) He has been in state prison for over 25 years because he refused to concede he touched any of them. He is now 62 years old, his adamant Not Guilty having cost him a quarter century of his life.

SPRINKLE is presently assigned to a halfway house in San Bernardino where, he says, he feels like Rip Van Winkle. “Everything is new. A friend here is teaching me how to use a phone.” He may be free of prison but he isn't free of cancer, for which he is undergoing chemotherapy.

A NATIVE of Ukiah, Sprinkle went to prison in 1996 just before techno-world became as primary as it is now. Prior to the Draconian sentence Sprinkle received on the basis of the highly suspicious allegations, he was always in demand and steadily employed as a truck driver and heavy equipment operator. He is today in good spirits despite the quadruple afflictions of being elderly, an ex-con, a cancer patient, and a registered sex offender. “I'll be here for 4-6 months,” he says, “and from here I'm not sure.”

AS MENDOCINO COUNTY sorta-kinda-maybe-someday considers some kind of vacation rental (i.e., airbnb) restrictions, the leadership (sic) might want to consider that Sonoma County has been doing just that for years. According to SoCo’s permit portal: 

“On November 4, 2014, the [Sonoma County] Board of Supervisors directed staff to make revisions to the Vacation Rental Ordinance after an extensive public outreach campaign. Revisions have been made to address issues related to the potential loss of permanent housing stock, property manager requirements and responsibilities, and monitoring and enforcement of vacation rental rules. A revised Vacation Rentals Ordinance was adopted by the Board of Supervisors on March 15, 2016, with an effective date of April 14, 2016.”

THE CORE of SoCo’s ordinance, as we read it, issues permits with reasonable conditions including rental registration for Bed Tax collection, for “primary owners,” but not “residences or condominiums owned as a timeshare, limited liability partnership or corporation, or fractional ownership of six (6) or more interests.”

Mendo could adopt a version of this tomorrow and we doubt there’d be much opposition. But…(Mark Scaramella)

George Orwell SAID that we tend not to see the people who do our heavy lifting, but I think lots of us are aware of them, and wonder about their lives. I'm hyper-curious about how the young women who staff Ukiah's Windmills restaurant are getting by on what they can make as waitresses in a killer inflationary economy that doesn’t work for then even when it is “working.” Of course the Windmills waitresses aren’t the only people getting squeezed, but what makes the plight of wage workers more poignant is they don't see political options. Hardly can blame them in a ruthless economy that doesn't even offer a political class that might lift their boats, and even if they asked, say, a local “activist” for advice on a political counter-attack they'd be pointed in the direction of the Democratic Party, which hasn't represented ordinary people since LBJ, and while the media constantly vilifies the few presently elected Democrats who do try to rep the rest of US.

JODY MARTINEZ'S history column for the Ukiah Daily Journal is one of my local must reads. Here are few items from the February, 1893 edition:

(1) “The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors met in adjourned session yesterday. All members present. The principal business before them is to award contracts for keeping the public highways in repair for the ensuing four years. There are forty-one road districts in the county and more than 100 bids have been filed. At the hour of going to press the bids had been opened but no contracts had yet been awarded.”

(2) E.W. Campbell, made notorious by his testimony against Sidney Bell, who was tried for the murder of Samuel Jacobson in San Francisco, was sentenced in the Justice’s Court at Fort Bragg on Monday to 180 days in the County jail for stealing a gold watch from the show case of a store. It will be remembered that a few weeks ago the Dispatch-Democrat published an interview with Campbell in which he said that he was conducting a saloon at Caspar and making heaps of money by “rolling” drunks. Campbell will be needed in San Francisco again shortly to testify in the murder case of Sidney Bell, which will be tried again.

(3) C. Hofman’s Cheap Cash Store (Willits)

15 lbs. best island rice, $1.00.

5 lbs. green coffee, $1.00.

4 lbs. parched coffee, $1.00.

18 lbs. dry granulated sugar, $1.00.

20 lbs. golden C sugar, $1.00

20 lb. box full weight soap, $1.00.

22 lbs. rolled wheat, $1.00.

50 lb. sack best Sperry’s flour, $1.10.

Syrup per gallon, 40 cts.

Cups and saucers, 6 each, 50 cts.

6 dinner plates, 50 cts.

These are no bait, all other goods at like prices. Good goods, full weight, and honorable dealing maintained.

IF THERE'S room in hell for naked pandering, Assemblyman Jim Wood has earned his. Wood announced AB 2176, “expanding the timeframe for Native American families to register the birth of a child. The bill is expanding the timeframe for registration from 10 days to 21 days, honoring and accommodating the period of sacred ceremonial blessing and naming of the newborn.” Wood went on to say, “The many Tribes and Rancherias contribute so much to the culture of our state, and I have learned a great deal about their traditions and benefitted (sic) from their wise council over the years, so this change in law this is a way to respect such an important event in their lives.”

LAURA COOSKEY COMMENTS: “Are the new rules only for Native Americans, or for everyone? What about Hippies? We need the five-year window for ‘registering’.”

HOTEL GROZNY, the just opened Ukiah Holiday Inn Express, my emphasis, sits unvisited and forlorn, stranded at the south end of Ukiah's Big Box Boulevard. What's an express hotel, one where you sleep faster? I, and maybe you, wonder at the thinking, both by the Holiday corp and Ukiah, the latter not exactly being synonymous with planning and building imagination, but what's the point of a four-floor after-the-war-in- Ukraine hotel with not even a coffee counter? Here's my idea to put some life in that already derelict structure.

CONVERT the top floor to a bar and restaurant, a lunch spot during the day, a nightclub as the late afternoon sun fades against CostCo, maybe John McCowen at the piano bar tinkling the ivories for his interpretation of Lady of Spain in recognition of the bi-ethnic make-up of his town, as the whole west side of town sings out, “See you tonight at the Groz!”

“GOOD to see you again, Mr. Anderson. Right this way to your table by the window, the one south-facing to spare you the commercial jumble to the north. Ms. Mulheren will take your drink order.”

ODD, kinda place, the Groz, stuck out there in commercial nowhere, the only restaurant an Applebee’s a half-mile away if you don't count the Schat’s at Friedman’s over near Walmart.

SPEAKING OF WALMART, they've discontinued their tropical fish. Went in there the other day hoping to pick up some those cheapo gold jobs but nada, not a living thing for sale in the whole place, except for some bedraggled ficus plants in the so-called garden shop. I was suddenly nostalgic for that wonderful little Ukiah pet shop on deep South State almost next door to the essential Sunny's Donuts where a knowledgeable, welcoming lady presided over the hamsters, kittens, and 20-cent goldfish. Commercially, this country has gone steadily backwards! Backwards, I tell you! WalMart wiped out all the little guy businesses in Ukiah leaving us without so much as a fighting fish for sale in the entire county. I'm surprised PetCo hasn't set up shop down there by the Groz and the former Emerald Sun, the latter the only architecturally attractive commercial structure in town.


As long as healthcare exists to make money for corporations, it will continue to get worse.

We already exist in a situation where there is plenty of diffuse healthcare in highly populated areas, but in the rest of the state, and the country in general, healthcare is scarce, and delivery of healthcare has been allowed to become degraded to the point where the lowest trained and qualified persons are actually responsible for handling the patients, while the highest educated and trained sit at desks and operate computers, go to meetings, and spend their time “selling” and promoting the facility…

Doctors are therefore now administrators, nurses have become typists, and patients are “cared for” by CNA’s, NA’s, and an assortment of “travelers” who are often sponsored, by recruiting companies, to work in the USA on H1B Visas, and who never become citizens…

Dumber and cheaper employees, often who can’t even speak English, are not a good look for American Healthcare, and, Dumber and Cheaper Politicians have also become a general rule…

My Father died in 2015, at 90, and his last acts were to refuse to stay in a hospital or a SNF, choosing to die at home, with Hospice care and family. As I get older, I see the wisdom…

When you are approaching death, you should be treated with respect and dignity, not simply warehoused and ignored by persons from a different culture…

My Mother was able to afford assisted living until she had a stroke and lost the ability to do anything at all, and was unable to eat, shower, toilet, or speak. The SNF withheld her meds, I had to stand there and demand that she be kept comfortable, and, in 6 months I never had contact, face to face, with any physician or administrator, and was held at arm's-length and forced to communicate at phone “care conferences”, where I got the distinct impression that nobody gave a shit about my mother, and that she was receiving terrible care from a group of persons who only were concerned about their paychecks, and their lunch-breaks…

I, at 70, have a great deal of anxiety about end of life care, and, the lousy state of the average hospital… You should too!

Your local hospitals do not have the ability to recruit or retain staff, all of the facilities are operated by overpaid clowns, who will squeeze a quarter with one hand while throwing away $100 dollar bills with the other…

American Healthcare is extremely poor, substandard compared to some “third world” countries, and, as a society, we treat animals better than we treat dying humans.

If this idiot congressman is in charge of improving general care, and if state employees and “appointed” county officials are administering the state of care in counties, we have a lot to be afraid of.

My response at this time, is to avoid medical care of all types, at all costs, and, the condition of Medicare and it’s corollaries is disgusting, impossibly expensive, and completely bogged down by overregulation, poorly trained and incompetent caregivers, bad pharmacies employing absolutely untrained persons, and laws suspended for COVID “emergency”…

Our government has failed to administer healthcare, our available healthcare organizations have failed to deliver comprehensive care, the overall standard of care has become shockingly eroded, and healthcare has become a concept better avoided than consumed…

Stay healthy, protect yourself, be your own advocate, and make some plans, because your government is on a downhill course…

This was written by an Ancillary Healthcare Professional, with 40 years experience. It is my opinion that healthcare in America and Northern California in particular, is very poor, and that most facilities are operated by crooked, lying, selfish con-artists, and that each one of them is failing, in many ways, to care for the population effectively.

One more thing: Healthcare is shot in the ass with fraud, incompetence, and greed.

Welcome to America! Take care of yourself!


COUNT ME among the thousands who enjoyed giant cheeseburgers at Carine's along with fries the size of railroad spikes. Happy memories of Mama Carine, too.

AN ON-LINE COMMENTER recently said that the question of whether the Skunk Train is a “public utility” will have to be resolved in court, since the City of Fort Bragg has filed court papers challenging the Skunk Train’s claims that they are a public utility and which they used to acquire the old Georgia-Pacific millsite in Fort Bragg.

We reminded the commenter about the late Judge Conrad Cox’s ruling in the case of Dominic Affinito’s “one story too tall” North Cliff Motel in Fort Bragg, which to this day stands as a monument to what Roanne Withers correctly described at the time, “factual and legal hogwash.”

THERE ARE MORE recent examples of Mendo judicial rulings which are presumably “legal” and presumably “factual,” but which are either outright wrong, more “hogwash,” or provide no practical resolution for local controversies. The lawyers make out nicely, especially when they drag the cases out for years and years, as Dominic Affinito had done in the case of the North Cliff, flouting all land use law from the Coastal Act to Fort Bragg laws. And then there are the appeals, of course.

CASES like these usually end up favoring the side with the deeper pockets, irrelevant of who may be in the right. In the “North Cliff Motel” case, the city was criticized for paying the escalating legal costs because the obviously illegal extra floor was already there. And after Judge Cox’s ruling, although there were clear grounds for appeal, Fort Bragg decided to not spend any more money for lawyers and gave up.

By the time the Mendo courts get around to even issuing a “ruling” on the coastal mill site, there’s a good chance sea level rise will making the question moot.

(Mark Scaramella)

IT'S AN UNFUNNY joke, certainly, to the families of the missing, but the joke is that if all the murdered people buried in their unquiet graves deep in the hills of the Emerald Triangle raised up and began walking south on 101 they'd stretch from Eureka to the Golden Gate Bridge. 

MOST of these lonely dead — the contemporary dead, that is — began to be murdered when marijuana became worth killing for, but if you include 19th century outlaws and Indians, the body count runs into multiples of a thousand. Mendocino County was a literal free fire zone from the early 19th century until 1880 or so. Humboldt and Lake counties, too. And the vast Triangle remains an area where bad people do bad things.

Chris Giauque

CHRIS GIAUQUE was 36 when he disappeared in 2003. He'd accumulated money and land growing and selling marijuana. He'd been married for two weeks when he went missing. Her new husband's sudden absence was reported by his bride to the HumCo Sheriff's at the Sheriff's Garberville sub-station. She made the report accompanied by longtime Southern Humboldt attorney Ron Sinoway and a fellow named Ben Lomax, the last person, other than his killer or killers, to see Chris Giauque alive.

THE PRESUMABLY GRIEVING bride spoke once to her father-in-law. The second time he called she said that on the advice of her attorney she would not speak to him again. The widowed Mrs. Giauque was duly awarded the couple's property. 

LOMAX has stuck to his initial statement that he saw Chris at a place on Spy Rock and then never saw him again.

WE ALL HEAR that fatuous term, “closure” applied to the families of victims. “We're just looking for closure,” they say, not insincerely but because closure is the term these days for wanting to know what happened to the murdered loved one. But there's never closure. Grief is unending and families grieve forever, among them Chris Giauque's father.

ROBERT ‘BOB’ GIAUQUE is an old man pushing 80. He devotes all the time he has left trying to find out who disappeared his son. He stopped in the other day, brought us some apples and talked about his unending quest for his son. He's convinced he knows who murdered his son, but knowing who did it and proving who did it have stymied law enforcement and everyone else who's tried to find out.

THIS ANONYMOUS on-line comment sums up what likely happened to the missing man and many other people who've disappeared in the Emerald Triangle:

“Chris got out of jail and went to Island Mountain [Spyrock] to check on his mega diesel grows. Chris would put properties in other partner's names, once he got out of jail he went to collect his share of a 400 light mega indoor grow that was operating for over a year while he was in jail. The operators of this farm simply killed him instead of paying him what was owed. Chris’s light blue Toyota Tacoma was taken back thru Dyerville Loop Road and dumped on the Avenue [of the Giants] to make it look like the crime occurred near his Salmon Creek properties. People already know what happened to this guy, but there is no evidence to arrest the people he was working with.”

TODD LANDS, mayor of Cloverdale, recently distinguished himself by running down out of the stands at his daughter's basketball game to threaten a referee, “I'll see you out in the parking lot.” Lands was apparently worried that his daughter would be injured as her Cloverdale team was being handily drubbed by the lady visitors from Middletown.

HIGH SCHOOL REFS take a lot of abuse. It’s now common for parents to heap abuse and even threaten high school kids picking up a few bucks refereeing little kid ball games. My granddaughter, age 8, plays in a softball league where the parent of a hulking child — six feet, 200 pounds — whose age was challenged by the coach of an opposing team for unleashing his fast foot beast on 8-year-olds. Dad's answer? He knocked the opposing coach out.

JONAH RASKIN: Walking on Valencia Street toward Mission Street in San Francisco, I ducked into an alley and saw two young muralists painting on a wall. A sign read, “Private Property.” It didn't deter them. The odor of the paint in the spray can was powerful. I understood why the woman wore a mask. (Sorry I don't have an image of her behind her mask.) 

The figure in the mural belongs to a real person, though I didn't recognize him and said so. The woman mentioned his name. I've already forgotten it. “Not my generation,” I said. She added, “He was on Saturday Night Live.” That's a ticket to ride. A mural in the Mission is another ticket to ride.

 “THE MOVEMENT AND THE MADMAN," a work-in-progress by Mr. Steve Talbot, maker of the “Who Bombed Judi Bari?” PBS documentary film:

The "Movement and the Madman” will be the first feature documentary to chronicle the untold story of the mass movement that helped limit and end the long and brutal war in Vietnam, proving that nonviolent protest movements can make a difference.


[1] It does no good, but then they could all be living in tents on the sidewalks…

Dangerously psychotic persons, living on the streets of Ukiah, are a pretty big problem…

Plenty of new apartments for farmworkers, seniors, disabled and mothers/children, but no body built anything for the crazy indigent (unsheltered)…

Calling them unsheltered is a stretch, they got bus shelters and the porch of the Social Services Building, and a whole lot of old motels that take vouchers, and, the indigent all have SDI/GA/VA/Social Security, and they all have Medicare/Medicaid that they pay nothing for…

You could build villages of “tiny homes” down by the freeway, but more would just move in…

Q: How many homeless people live in Ukiah?

A: All of them!

Like London Breed says: “Take a homeless home and give him/her a spare bedroom…”

[2] I get the sense that the only reason whoever’s running the Biden administration seems so eager for war that neither Russia nor Ukraine wants, is so that they can make it appear like their diplomatic idiot/savant Joe has swooped in and saved the world from the imminent apocalypse of their own fabrication.

[3] PG&E, AN ON-LINE COMMENT: “Consumers will be digging deeper into their pocket to pay the power bill. The average residential bill of $152 per month now will spike to $166 per month starting in March.” This is patently untrue and absurd. I posted about my January PG&E bill to and received 505 comments and counting, all with similar stories to mine. My bill went from $162 for December (which is average to a bit high for winter) to $314, with no change in usage. 87% of the bill was for gas. I turn my furnace off at night, and never set it higher than 68 degrees. After the shocking bill, I use the furnace for one hour each morning before turning it off. I have always been thrifty with my energy use, but this is unconscionable. I'm lucky that I can pay the bill. Many others who responded to the post simply cannot pay. It's eat or heat for them. We in Sonoma County should not be living under the restrictions characterized by third-world countries. We need to have publicly owned utilities, like 2,000 other communities in this country.

[4] The best god damned reality show ever, the series finale of America.

[5] I just got my Slo-Joe covid tests in the mail. Requested by my wife. Quality tested from the “ZHEJIANG ORIENT GENE BIOTECH CO.”. Right on the box it also says. “This product has not been FDA approved. but is authorized under an Emergency Use Authorization.” They were “free” of course. Joe probably paid the CCP 100 bucks for the box. I’m gonna stick one of these swabs up into my brain right now.

Bolinas Residents Struggle as Rentals and Second Homes Increase

[6] Labels. I sometimes think they exist to aid in censoring speech/ideas, and to discourage people from being exposed to inconvenient truths via threats of association.

Left. Right. Conservative. Liberal. Progressive. Libertarian. Give me a label that the mainstream hasn’t attached a wedge issue to. All of these labels have some sort of deal-breaker for me, and perhaps that’s by design. I used to say a “classic liberal” is the closest thing I resemble, which, since the overton window has shifted has more trappings of a modern day conservative than liberal.

I prefer to say I belong to no established group, that I am an individual with a unique set of beliefs that sometimes aligns or overlaps with some of the beliefs under the mainstream labels.

[7] Mendocino County has made the legal cannabis problems worse not better, they are consistently making more rules as they can’t enforce the ones they already have.

Mendocino County blames the state for the too many regulations, and a “unworkable program” But Mendocino county is still trying to pass more restrictions on legal cannabis cultivation. The newest restrictions talked about were a ban on water Hauling and a ban on cultivation in RR 5 zoning

How could they even talk about more restrictions when they can’t handle the restrictions they already have?

There is actually no respect for the cannabis industry on a county level. They just thought they could get tax money and that was all they cared for.

The county wasted months trying to jam through an ordinance last year that effectively would have turned the Industry upside down, it was going to push all the cultivation off the family farms and onto AG land.

Now they complain at all the work they did, but they actually just wasted everyone’s time.

One Comment

  1. Douglas Coulter February 23, 2022

    Great news that Sprinkles is out. Sex crimes have become the new witch hunt.
    Go after predators! Sexual predators should be the only ones on sex crime data base.
    Sprinkles was a victim of malicious prosecution
    They are charging public urination as a sex crime in many places as they close down public restrooms everywhere.
    Too many names on sex crime register make it ineffective

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