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Off the Record (March 30, 2022)

OF ALL THE BLOVIATING farces and straight-up insults we endure as Americans, Senate confirmation hearings are right up there with the most offensive. There they were Monday morning in all their stumbling splendor, corporate libs on one predictable side, neo-fascists on the other, the whole dreary gang assembled for a week of pure posturing as Ketanji Brown Jackson is confirmed as a Supreme Court judge. The neo-fascisti will say she’s soft on crime because she once worked as a public defender as they pretend not to be automatically opposed to her because she’s a smart, fully qualified black woman. The corporate libs will say stuff like not only is the appointee “a woman of color” as they patronize Ms. Jackson like she’s some kind of fluke given her gender and color, they will thunder on about how the Supreme Court needs to “truly reflect the American color scheme,” without of course mentioning that half the people in that color scheme are either impoverished or headed there. The Trump Cult will slobber on about how Ms. J seems to be one-a them mollycoddlin’ libruls. After a week of this embarrassing jive Ms. Brown will be confirmed because the libruls have the votes to confirm her. Meanwhile, a whole week of breathless babble from NPR about how exciting all this is. And her appointment makes no diff whatsoever. The Trump Cult outnumbers the libs on the Court. Wake me when it’s over.

SOUTH CAROLINA’S announcement that it will execute killers by firing squads instead of the midnight needle is actually a step forward in death penalty methods. A firing squad is at least a dignified end for people who largely don’t deserve any consideration at all, but hauling people out of their cells in the middle of the night and dispatching them via tortuous chemicals, that final shot often botched by the authorities and their medical advisors, is grotesque and negates any possible message that murder will get the murderer murdered by the state. What’s the lesson supposedly taught to the rest of us? None, and even if the execution were carried out at Super Bowl half-time, murderers would continue to murder. Capital punishment is not a deterrent. 

TRADITIONALLY, at least in some of the executions of political people, the condemned got to make a little speech and was offered a last cigarette while the firing squad waited patiently to put a bullet in him or, rarely, her. (In Stalinist Russia you got a bullet in the back of the head in some anonymous police basement. Ditto for fascist governments ever since everywhere.) Firing squads, incidentally, spare most of the riflemen the specific knowledge that it was their bullet that killed a stranger to them. Only one or two fire live rounds, the rest fire blanks. I think Gary Gilmore of Utah is the last American executed by firing squad, and that was at his request. (Norman Mailer’s brilliant book on Gilmore, a low down punk if there ever was one, and there are at least several million, certainly had it coming. ‘The Executioner’s Song’ should be required reading.)

HANGINGS are unpleasant affairs — very popular with the public audiences who used to be allowed to watch them. But, like the midnight needle, they are also often botched because the rope is either too short or too long, and the condemned slowly chokes to death, or doesn’t die and has to be re-hung per adjusted rope specs.

THE SOLUTION, as all humane, sensible people know and agitate for, is life without parole. Vengeance isn’t a desirable social encouragement, nor is giving the government the right to kill a good idea in highly political times because you just might get a midnight needle yourself.

MALCOLM MACDONALD: My new book, Mendocino History Exposed, is now up on the gallerybookshop.com website. Of course, you can also order by phone at 707-937-2665. Mendocino History Exposed tells twenty-two tales from around the county, ranging from the 1820s to World War II. You don’t have to be from this locale to appreciate Mendocino’s connection to Moby Dick or the Pig War, let alone the exploits of Eliza Bowman and Anna Morrison Reed. Shootouts, stagecoach holdups (with a twist), an Alfred Hitchcock sighting, and the bloodiest feud of the Old West. Who doesn’t love a good feud! You get all that and more in Mendocino History Exposed.

WATER FOR MENDO

$5 million for Mendo Water!

This is huge news for Mendocino. I do not know any of the details and I do not see anything on the district site just yet. 

<http://mccsd.com/>

Mendocino News Plus is reporting this just now from their FaceBook page.

(Ted Williams)

FROM SENATOR MIKE McGUIRE: “Big news for the Mendocino Coast: The Village of Mendocino is one of the most water scarce areas in our region. After months of work, help is on the way! Nearly $5 million will be invested by the State to build desperately needed water storage tanks and new wells that will enhance water supply and fire safety. Big thanks to the Special Services District [Mendocino City Community Services District] for the tremendous job on the planning efforts. We’re thrilled to start moving dirt, getting these projects built and we’ll continue to work with the District to ensure the project’s success in the months ahead!” 

UDJ REPORTER MICHELLE BLACKWELL provided a few details about the recent $5 million grant generously awarded by the state to help with water shortages. “The grant will allow the Mendocino Water District to begin the necessary planning processes that will be required to build a 500,000-gallon storage tank for emergency water supplies. These supplies can be used in times of drought and for fire suppression. … Two new wells will be drilled to fill the larger emergency tank during the rainy season when water is abundant. It would be then be cycled through the school district systems to prevent it from becoming stale. During drought, the 500,000 gallons would be able to mitigate the empty wells and expensive refills district residents faced during the summer and fall of 2021. … Although District Manager Rhodes estimates it will take five years to break ground, it’s a step toward self-sufficiency. The five-year timeline assumes a full CEQA process as well as additional reviews that will likely be required by the Coastal Commission and the State.”

IF STATE SENATOR McGuire really wanted to help with the drought problem he would have written some environmental review waivers into the grant language — can’t we skip the EIR for a tank and some wells to get Mendo through the drought now? The District could begin construction of the tank on an emergency basis next week. Instead, we get a jubilant but detail-free press release from McGuire and a forwarding brag from Supervisor Williams, a reliable shill for McGuire, about how wonderful this big grant is. Then we have to wait until a local reporter quietly points out that they don’t even expect to “break ground” on the “emergency” project for at least five years. Way to go, Mike and Ted. .

BRIAN WOOD WRITES: I listen to Pat Thurston on KGO sometimes, one of my favorite talk show hosts ever. For some reason I googled a biography of her today, and there was this near the end:

“… Look at the old issues of the San Francisco Chronicle or the old Examiner… Read the way those reporters reported it. That’s what’s missing. That’s what we need today. I see that kind of reporting in only one paper anymore and that’s a little paper in Mendocino County called The Anderson Valley Advertiser. If my kids grew up to be reporters of the ilk of the old Chronicle or Examiner or like Bruce Anderson and Mark Scaramella in Philo I’d be very proud, very pleased,” Thurston says.

ED NOTE: Which reminds me, some time ago Ms. Thurston, then the most listened to talk show talker in the North Bay at KSRO, Santa Rosa, invited me on to talk about the car bombing of Judi Bari, that subject not allowed anywhere else on the Northcoast. As it happened, Dennis Cunningham called in live on the air. Cunningham was Bari’s doormat lawyer to whom she dictated the subsequent bogus federal libel suit co-written with the Justice Department to exclude any and all mention of what had actually happened to get the jive case into federal court. (I and several other skeptics were excluded by name from appearing as witnesses.) Cunningham wouldn’t “engage,” as they say, refusing to argue. I went on to say that Bari’s ex-husband, magically excluded from primary suspect status by the super-sleuths of the FBI probably because he worked for them as a snitch, had, at a minimum, built the bomb intended to kill the mother of his two children. As with prior Sweeney bombs, the one intended for Bari failed to work as designed, and she survived the blast. Sweeney, incidentally, had been in the immediate proximity of bombs and murder all the way back to his youth with a Maoist cult at Stanford, not that his sanguinary cv at all dissuaded Mendocino County from hiring him as a highly paid trash bureaucrat, Mendocino County being a unique American set aside for amnesiacs, a place where you are whatever you say you are and history starts all over again every morning. Anyway, all this being as it is, Ms. Thurston was fired at KSRO for having me on, her dismissal having been arranged by Sweeney’s father, a personal friend of KSRO’s swinish owner. I’ve always felt guilty about having been the pretext for the bastards to fire her, but I was partially relieved of my eternal hair shirt when the talented Ms. T landed at KGO, a much larger venue with a much greater reach.

NO SOONER had I written that a new County Courthouse seemed to be permanently on hold, then I get this excited P.S. from court administrator Kim Turner who, by the way, commutes from Marin where ugly public buildings are stoutly resisted:

“The new courthouse in Ukiah is finally moving forward! The court has been meeting with the Judicial Council and an architectural firm, Cannon Design, reviewing the space planning program and specifications, as well as the siting for the courthouse on the parcel next to the train depot. You or your designee are invited to attend a meeting (on Microsoft Teams) to review the space plan and building design on Friday, April 1 at 3:00 PM. The court and the design team want to hear from you on the features and functionality of the new courthouse, as well as other considerations and concerns you may have. Please RSVP to me and we will send out a link for the meeting to all who plan to attend. We want to hear your feedback and ideas as we move forward with this project. Please let me know if you have any questions. We look forward to your attendance on April 1st.”

THE COURT “DESIGN TEAM” specializes in squalid glass and steel eyesores. They don’t want to hear from anyone who recognizes that a new County Courthouse is not workable from a logistics perspective besides what it will do to Ukiah’s struggling downtown. The present County Courthouse is not only serviceable as is, it could be restored to a version of its previous architectural glory for half the price of a whole new structure serving only their black-robed majesties and their gofers. 

DEPUTY CRAIG WALKER had appeared before the Board of Supervisors in 2017 to say that the cops were opposed to the project:

“Good morning. Craig Walker appearing strictly in my capacity as President of the Deputy Sheriff’s Association. You might be surprised that I’m here this morning not to talk about negotiations or money. Rather, we’d like to talk about an issue that we would like to take a stand on and we would welcome your participation as well. That would be the prospective new courthouse. I think everyone in the room is familiar with some of the well-known issues involved there and the impact it would have on the downtown should the courthouse be relocated. Although we share those sentiments, our organization is concerned about the county’s potential exposure to costs that will be in our opinion forced upon us by the relocation. We are referring specifically to the idea that the proposed new courthouse would house strictly court employees and that the county employees who currently are housed within the existing court facility and nearby would have to travel that extra distance. We don’t think that’s a feasible alternative for the medium or long term. What we envision is the county being forced at some point to construct another building down by the new courthouse or lease space at substantial cost and that we would then be on the hook for maintenance of the old and abandoned facility and all of these things could easily run into the millions of dollars in cost for the county that the state, as far as we can tell, is not factoring into their planning. So for those reasons our organization is adamantly opposed to relocating the courthouse. We feel that some reasonable renovations to the existing structure could be made at a fraction of the cost. We realize that this project is being driven by the State Office of the Courts and not by the county and not by some other local agency. Nevertheless, we think that because of that ancillary exposure to the County and to the county employees that we really need to work together and oppose this project and we will be contacting the Governor’s office and the Administrative Office of the Court to express our displeasure and we would like to think that you would join us in that regard. Thank you.” 

The Board did not inquire or comment on Deputy Walker’s remarks.

WHY NO RESPONSE? Because, and we’re about 99% certain about this, County CEO Angelo, and the five supervisors Angelo leads like Snow White leads her dwarves, are quietly planning to invest limited County money in land adjacent to the proposed Courthouse site on East Perkins in anticipation of the new structure’s ancillary services. 

WHY THE SUPERVISORS would even consider such an investment given their perennially precarious fiscal situation may stem from the Supes' (and judges') associations with the jive Democrats of the Northcoast, who also control some of the old railway property in the area of the proposed Courthouse. 

NO ONE, HOWEVER, except for our nine (9, count ‘em) judges, wants a new Courthouse because there’s nothing wrong with the present Courthouse that couldn’t be remedied by a modest remodel for far less money than a new Courthouse, which will serve only the judges. 

MOVING THE COUNTY COURTHOUSE to a major new eyesore of a structure (see the now abandoned Willits courthouse) nearly a half mile south of Ukiah’s battered downtown, will also destroy a large number of small businesses presently thriving in the neighborhood of the present Courthouse. 

BUT THIS SWINDLE moves quietly ahead, and seems to be a done deal. But good for Walker and his fellow cops for objecting to it. 

MENDOCINO COUNTY DA DAVID EYSTER is also emphatically opposed to a new County Courthouse. Alone among the County’s elected officials in his opposition to the project, which would re-locate superior courtrooms four long blocks east of its present location, Eyster says the present Courthouse can be made perfectly serviceable, and for a lot less money than a new “glass box” in the already crowded hospital neighborhood on West Perkins.

THERE hasn’t been so much as a squeak of concern from either the Ukiah City Council or the County Board of Supervisors at a proposal that would massively disrupt public and county business simply for the convenience of nine persons — the Superior Court judges themselves. They want new quarters, no one else does.

“I AM NOT a proponent of a new Courthouse,” the County’s top law enforcement officer declared. “What you’ve been told is that the present Courthouse is a dangerous building because it is not earthquake-safe. In the last earthquake, as Napa was falling, this place looked out onto downtown Ukiah with no impact on it.” The DA proceeded to systematically rebut the arguments for the new structure. “OK, if it’s old, you can do some work to make it safe and workable. They say it’s dangerous for security. I can show you how that can be fixed. The front the Courthouse is just plain ugly. I think that’s a selling point to rehab this building because the ugly front facade takes up a lot of space that can be re-done as A usable, attractive work area. The back side of the Courthouse is perfect and beautiful. And it is historically significant. The front of the Courthouse can be made beautiful, too.”

AN HOUR later the DA conducted us on a tour of the premises. As we walked, he made a convincing case for a major re-do of the existing old structure some of which goes back to Mendocino County’s beginning. It’s clear the energetic prosecutor has given a re-model a lot of thought.

“THEY SAY it’s not safe to move prisoners through the building shared with the general public,” the DA continued. “I understand that. We can talk about that. I’ll show you how that safety issue can be overcome.” 

WHICH he soon did, explaining that a re-model of the School Street entrance to the building is eminently doable to funnel defendants directly into a holding area and the elevators up to the courtrooms. 

THE ever-upwards cost estimates of the proposed new Courthouse?

“WHAT’S THE NUMBER” Eyster demanded. “$96 million, or has it been revised? It’s come down lately. It was around $120 million at one point. I’ll say we can do what I’ll describe for $91 million,” he laughed. “In the private sector if I said I could do this under budget I’d get a bonus of half of what I saved! I’m for incentives to get things right.” Eyster was critical of the apparent desire of the County’s judges to enjoy their own facilities. Exclusively. The proposed structure would house only their courtrooms and chambers and staff. “The new thinking with the courts is, we don’t want to share public facilities with any other entity. When we close the door at night we don’t want anyone in our building.”

“AS YOU SEE,” Eyster said, referring to the unending bustle between the DA’s offices on the ground floor and the upstairs courtrooms, “we are constantly back and forth, up and down the stairs. We’re a workhorse operation — file it, get it here to there. It’s all on us. They [the judges] demand it all happen in a timely manner. We serve them.” “If we have to shuttle up and down Perkins… Well, there goes the schedule.” 

THE DA pointed out the window of his conference room at the random sprawl of busy West Perkins Street and State Street, the heart of Ukiah.

“DOWN past Rainbow Ag and the new sports bar there’s the railroad station. On days like this — bright, sunny, cheerful — maybe it’s relatively easy for us to get 50 to 100 cases up and down Perkins without the files falling apart on the street. But last year when all the cats and dogs were falling out of the sky, explain to me the means of getting the cases down the street safely and whole. We’d have to have drying rooms for our files.”

The DA remembers receiving the sales pitch for the new courtrooms on Perkins. “It was Henderson and Nelson in that order. [Both judges are now retired.] It wasn’t a conversation about what do you think about it, it was: We’re doing this. Good luck to you, our ship is sailing a certain course and we don’t even know if you have a ticket.”

DA media officer, Mike Geniella remembered, “One of them said we could have a golf cart system running back and forth.” 

“AS I SIT in my office and watch State and Perkins,” Eyster replied, “I see lots of accidents. Golf carts running around downtown means there’s lots that can go wrong with that. This is an after-the-fact response to the judges’ position of, This is what we’re doing. Ok, they said, you can help us by buying property down here for your offices. I don’t have that kind of purse, and the last time they discussed it with the County, they said no to any purchases of property for Courthouse offices. The County doesn’t have the money, either.”

“ONE of the problems that this building has,” the DA conceded, “is asbestos. So we had an asbestos survey come in and they found some in our offices that we had to mitigate. Nothing significant. Experts came in from the Central Valley. They got it done inexpensively. None of the problems with this building are insurmountable, but the State Judicial Council says, We do what we want and you have to take it. They can do things by fiat.”

EYSTER points to Auburn’s showcase Courthouse. “It looks like the old Courthouse that it is, but inside they have all the modern amenities; they incorporated everything into their old building. Knocking it down would have meant the loss of significant history. We can do that here. Look at the new courthouses around the state. They’re all glass boxes, designs that do not fit the character or history of this area. They make no effort to make their new buildings aesthetically pleasing. We already have enough things being pushed across Hospital Drive, and here comes a new courthouse? And the traffic coming off 101 at Perkins already backs up! The Courthouse only should have been moved if it was consolidated with a new jail. That’s not happening.”

Mark Scaramella ADDS: Speaking of the new jail, we now see that it is expected to overrun by a lot because the same gold plated Sacto architects designed it that way, just like the Crisis Residential House ($5 mil for a $1 mil house, but nobody cared because it was Measure B money) and now they’re thrashing around looking at how to fund the jail expansion overrun.

In all likelihood the new courthouse will experience the same. By the time the high-priced consultants get finished with the gold plated ugly design it will cost much more than anybody thought, and be delayed and delayed as they figure out how to pay for it — but because it’s the judges they’ll have to.

PS. The main argument that Judge Nelson et al have made since the 90s when this first came up is that it’s supposedly dangerous to have criminals shipped back and forth from the jail to the courthouse with potential contact with the public and they need a new courthouse with a sally port for safe prisoner transport. Yet in all these years they’ve been saying that, even with the more dangerous criminals now shipped back to Mendo with prison revisions lately, there has not been one incident or problem connected to that particular judicial paranoia. Not one.

And that’s the only alleged public benefit to a new courthouse. The argument that the old courthouse is old is not by itself a reason to replace it, especially given all the problems the new courthouse will create and all the millions of auxiliary departments cost impact (DA, public defender, probation, etc) that will be forced on the County’s general fund. There has never been a cost-benefit analysis (as an EIR would require, for example and which the judges themselves would require if it were anybody but them) proving that a new courthouse is better than the “no project” or “remodeled existing project” alternative.

A READER WRITES: “Another problem with a new courthouse on Perkins street, other than the area already having traffic backed up for blocks at certain times of the day, court staff having to either walk back and forth from downtown to the new site (yea, I’m so sure people will walk), or get in their cars and drive for three blocks, and the general uglification of Ukiah.....Just imagine a typical summer day in Ukiah with a 110 degree sun bouncing off a glass structure. Imagine the cost of cooling that behemoth, and we all know its gonna get hotter every year. I don’t understand why we citizens have not had a say in any decision-making. Cause when the first accidents start happening, and we know they will, and the as yet unknown and unforeseen expenses become a reality… I can only imagine the annoyed and bewildered staff. Ooops, forgot that piece of paper, gotta jump in my car and drive three blocks and back. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.”

I’D HOPED the new County Courthouse was on permanent hold. I should have known better. This is the second judicial swindle in my years in Mendocino County, the first being the termination of the county’s far flung justice courts, including the one in Boonville. That move came courtesy of the lawyer-dominated state legislature on the false basis that only lawyers were capable of dispensing justice, a proposition the legislature wouldn’t dare put to a vote. This move was purely for the convenience of 9 (count ‘em) new superior court judges, each of them compensated at levels of pay and emoluments not available to most Americans. We now have more superior court judges per capita than any other county in the state, hell, maybe in the world.

SO WE LOST our justice courts, resulting for many of us in long drives to the County Courthouse in Ukiah to get screwed over, er, get our matters heard.

THE 9 JUDGES have decided, or at least are silent on the subject, they need a new courthouse three long blocks from the old, perfectly serviceable present courthouse. The rub is that the new structure has been designed only for the judges and their gofers. The DA, to name one county official inconvenienced by this move, will remain where he is, meaning he and his lawyers and ancillary staff will be bustling up and down West Perkins in all kinds of weather. What could go wrong?

WORST OF ALL, moving the courthouse will destroy what’s left of downtown Ukiah as shoppers and diners disappear from a city center already struggling.

WORST-WORST OF ALL, the new courthouse will be a major eyesore for a town already synonymous with architectural squalor. A re-model of the old courthouse, the traditional courthouse that goes all the way back into the 19th century, if it were a restoration of the beauty of the original, Ukiah and the rest of the county’s sorely put upon citizens could point to it with pride.

WHICH is what would have happened in, say, 1920, when civic leaders cared what their towns looked like, understanding that public beauty was good for public morale. Ukiah’s civic “leadership,” when the mercenary “liberals” of the Richard Shoemaker-Dan Hamburg variety made their moves on the county in the mid-70s, they wasted no expense on their own comfort and welfare, hence Ukiah’s attractive civic headquarters and the big leather chairs and big shot dais in the supervisor’s chambers out on Low Gap.

OPEN WIDE, MENDOLAND as the new courthouse gets shoved down your unsuspecting throats. Your 9 fat cat judges are getting themselves a brand new courthouse that nobody except them wants. 

THE INIMITABLE RALPH BOSTROM: Long time AVA reader and senior care home resident Ralph Bostrom is 93 and is pen-pals with AVA contributor Katy Tahja. She recently sent him a collection of Jack London’s early writings about his travels and Ralph wrote this back… “My experience riding the rails is very short. There was a second hand shop at the foot of Mission Street and the Embarcadero in San Francisco. I bought an old bicycle for $5 and decided to ride from ‘Frisco to Seattle. I rode up through the Napa Valley, then over Mt. St. Helena, where Robert Louis Stevenson lived for a while, then up the west side of Clear Lake. I went through the middle of the national forest. I asked for a job at a sawmill but was told I’d have to go to Ukiah to apply. Along with a sleeping bag and some cooking stuff tied on the bike I had a sign ‘Need Some Work!’ I emerged from the forest into Glenn County where I found some work loading hay bales. I think I received $2 and this was the only work I found except picking strawberries north of Eugene. I continued up the highway which was a narrow two lane road. When I got to Dunsmuir I saw a freight train headed north with some empty box cars, so I climbed aboard. When I woke up we were in Medford and I had avoided the mountain range. I continued up the road to Portland and decided I’d had enough bicycle riding.” 

KEVIN MURRAY, the former Ukiah policeman, has been bound over for a jury trial in the Mendocino County courtroom of Judge Carly Dolan on a laundry list of alleged felonies ranging from burglary to rape. A lesser charge, possession of methamphetamine, the crazy-making drug, is also alleged against Murray. Meth is known to cause male priapism. Murray may not have strayed from the path of righteousness if he hadn’t used the drug, a speculation his lawyers will undoubtedly introduce during their group-defense. Photos of Murray’s penis have been subpoenaed.

HEIDI LARSON will bring the case against Murray when the trial commences on May 16th. Murray is represented by four (count ‘em) criminal defense attorneys out of Sonoma County.

A FORMER Ukiah Police detective, Isabel Siderakis, has filed a civil suit against the City of Ukiah for an alleged a sexual assault she suffered by Murray last year. 

FISCAL AUSTERITY returns to the Mendocino County’s CEO office. A woman named “Tammy,” speaking in the dulcet, little girl voice unpleasant women adopt when they’re enjoying the delivery of a teensy hatchet job, directed me to cancel the office’s AVA subscription, which I was unaware they had but which, I soon learned, is paid for out of public funds. “Tammy” scampered off before I could tell her the good news, that we will keep her office sub going as a comp because the AVA is like the Hell’s Angels — once you’re in, you’re in for life, life I tell you! Nobody cancels on us!

LISTENING to a morning hour of the Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson, I was relieved it wasn’t mandatory. These people are the leadership? Stumbling rhetoric, dumb questions, especially from the Republicans where dumb and vicious is a given,  but still. The nominee, seemingly the only intelligent, dignified person in the room besides her parents, steadily confirmed her obvious fitness for the job. Most of us would have jumped the table for a shot at the throat of the morons quizzing her.

I AGREE with the dumbkopfs that the libs’ viciousness during the Kavanaugh hearings was simply more evidence that these hearings have descended into pure schoolyard, pointless in any true sense of honest attempts at assessing the candidates.

FOR PURE CRETINISM, not to say stated mental illness, it would be hard to beat Senator Josh Hawley’s psycho statement that he “lives in fear of my children being exposed to child pornography,” the implication being that Ms. Jackson, like all Democrats, is somehow in favor of child pornography. The whole show, front to back, has been an embarrassing farce.

JOHN McCOWEN: Increased wealth and income inequality has been the inevitable and predictable result of placing arbitrary and unreasonable restrictions on local small businesses, while exempting mega-corporations. This shift would have occurred to some degree anyway, but the imposition of arbitrary restrictions that were not validated by data or science made the human toll infinitely worse by forcing many thousands of small businesses to shut down. State and local governmental and health authorities share complicity for this tragedy. One of the biggest disappointments I experienced while in office was the refusal of the Board of Supervisors to take a stand in support of local business owners.

CLAY ROMERO has filed to run against incumbent Supervisor John Haschak in the June 2022 Third District Supervisors race. Romero describes himself as a self-employed machinist, conservative Christian with “a work ethic, honesty and honor of traditional values.” He is also “passionate about gun rights and homeschooling.” He previous ran for Third District Supervisor in 2014 in the race in which Tom Woodhouse narrowly defeated Holly Madrigal. 

FROM CICI AYCOCHO WINIGER at the Fort Bragg branch of Adventist Hospital:

We have about 60 open positions at the hospital at this time.

We could really use your help with spreading the word! We will have a Job Fair on Thursday, from Noon to 5:00 p.m. Apply for a job and get a taco from Los Gallitos Mexican Restaurant.

While you’re at it! Our team will be there to answer questions about joining our family, help you with applications and more. Not an RN or clinical? No worries! We have many other non-clinical support roles such as helping with registration and more. See some of the open positions available:

  • Access Coordinator
  • Billing Follow Up
  • Billing Associate
  • Benefit Navigator
  • Customer Care
  • Housekeeping
  • HIM Technician (Medical Records)
  • Food Services
  • Imaging Scheduling
  • Philanthropy Manager
  • Marketing Manager
  • Referral Associate
  • Senior Facilities Associate
  • Staffing Coordinator

https://www.facebook.com/events/4917050891

LES TARR

Les Tarr of Eight To the Bar With Tarr died. I got email from Bob Woelfel, from KTDE in Gualala, who said, “I’m sorry to relay that Les died of pancreatic cancer this past Sunday. I saw him on 2/15 in Willits and he was starting to feel poorly. Kathy admitted him about 10 days before he passed but it was more than a week before it was diagnosed. He last did his show on 3/4. We’ve been running repeats the last two Friday nights. Tonight, Wednesday, we’re doing a tribute to him with anecdotes and a partial replay of his show that included an interview with an old blues man from San Francisco where they remember early times in San Francisco.”

One time when Bob was still running KMFB I was in on a not-my-show night to keep things rolling while everyone else was out. This was far enough back when hardly anyone had decent internet service, and I had put an MP3-playing DVD player in the studio so people could do four-hour-or-more-long shows from the other end of the county if they wanted to and just mail an MP3 CD or DVD. I had disks for all the shows Saturday night, and I was reading and working on my show and napping (this was a Saturday and I’d been up all Friday night, as usual, and I got the order of the show wrong. I put Lilia Albuquerque’s One Ocean show on instead of Les Tarr’s.

Les roared in half an hour later, having driven like a rocket in his truck from Willits, steaming mad. He said his relatives were over for dinner and he turned on the radio and his show didn’t come on. He told me, “I’m Italian, baby! I express myself!” I apologized, told him I can’t go back in time but I can be sure to never do it again. Nothing helped. I told him to calm down; I’d heard he had heart trouble and I didn’t wanna be responsible for him having a heart attack. He showed me a silver screw-top bullet on a chain around his neck with nitroglycerine pills in it in case of that. “I’m covered!” he boomed. “I’m prepared!”

His real name, I’m told was Les Hjulmand. That’s a good Italian name. He played bass in hot roadhouse bands, and he had a voice like a pipe organ.

All kinds of people around here were fans of his show on KMFB and KLLK and KTDE and others. If you remember something about him or something he did that struck you, please pass it on to me; I’d like to put them all in one place and of course read them on KNYO.

(Marco McClean)

BON VOYAGE, LES TARR!

I remember how fun it was to listen to KMFB with Lindy, Late Night Liz, Kay Rudin and Les Tarr who has now gone past the bar! I don’t relate to computer radio or automated radio. My mom loved laughing with and at the Good News Guys, which was the whole point I think. Plus the gooshy commercials with local business people Humor from a human age! I still enjoy KZYX and there are real DJs on KOZT! Fun! KNYO is wonderful but I have to stream on the computer only. There is no chance future generations will get a chance to hear human real, only robot real. In pretty much everything. It’s amazing how fast this is happening and how soon we will have robot lawyers, doctors, airplane pilots writers and umpires. And the absolute better efficiency and wholesome good of all robotics and the bungling idiocy of humanity is a given in society, media and business. It couldn’t be that with robotics instead of people is a way for a tiny handful of billionaires to run everything very badly with robotics but do it basically for free with no workers. My experiences with robotics is its being used while nowhere near ready and basically a complete flop and annoyance. But they are heralded everywhere as a spectacular success. And now we are losing those iconoclast humans like Les to give us a bizarre musical answer. Thanks for the memories Les. (Frank Hartzell)

A NAME CHANGE for Kelseyville will appear on the Lake County ballot in 2023. No argument from me. Sam Kelsey was a very bad man, not quite on the scale of Serranus Hastings of Mendocino County but plenty bad. Kelsey’s history is well documented. If he hadn’t owned most of the area and named it all after himself, it’s unlikely anybody else would have so honored him. The prob might be, as it is in Mendo where a group of fey “activists” want to re-name Fort Bragg on confused historical grounds, what to re-name Kelseyville?

Shig Murao

SHIG (Shigeyoshi ) MURAO was the only person that actually did any jail time for “Howl & Other Poems:” On June 3, 1957, he was arrested as the main sales clerk at City Lights books for selling copies of Howl to undercover detectives, though he was exonerated when the poem was judged protected under the first amendment three months later. He was one of the stores very first employees starting in 1953 and remained involved in the store until 1975. He passed away in 1999 at the age of 72. Here pictured in June 1988 at Cafe Trieste, where he’d often be found - up the street from City Lights, and down the street from his apartment where Allen would stay on his many visits to San Francisco. (photo and prose by Allen Ginsberg}

ED NOTE: As almost a daily habitue of City Lights from the time I discovered it as a callow youth, now as a callow senior I remember Shig as the imperturbable guy rooted at the cash register as you walked in the door. The shop wasn’t as crowded in the late 50’s as it is now, and patrons could linger for hours reading without buying anything, as I often did. I was there one night when a blonde beast drunk — I’ve always thought of him as a “Stanford-looking suit and tie fascist” — deliberately knocked a couple piles of new books off Shig’s counter like he was angry at books generally and City Lights specifically. Shig said something like, “Happy now?” as the beast strode triumphantly out the door. Ferlinghetti and City Lights were always good to the AVA, placing us with nice visibility in the magazine rack. Of course Ferlinghetti was a dissident and said he liked the dissidence we aimed at creating.

A READER WRITES: Job Posting For Lake County Interim Chief Administrative Officer — Note the salary! Upwards of $210,492 annually (not including benefits). For benefits, add another 100 grand, more or less. I’d put the total compensation package at about $312,000 annually. Note that Lake County is the poorest of California’s 58 counties. The average income of a Lake County resident is $21,310 a year...and that’s probably skewed upward by the government workers living in Lake County. Take government workers out of the statistics pool, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the average Lake County resident gets about what someone on public assistance would get.

JOHN McCOWEN: If we’re serious about helping people graduate from homelessness, in addition to providing services, we will adopt a zero tolerance approach to encampments, as recommended by the Marbut Report. Turning a blind eye to homeless encampments is harmful to the environment, the community and the people who live in them.

LARRY SHEEHY: Mendocino County needs a Public Bank! Let’s get on it Board of Supervisors! You now have inspiration from the Alameda County Supervisors who approved $75,000 to help Friends of the Public Bank East Bay (PBEB) for planning activities for the public bank business plan process needed to obtain a public bank charter. The group has completed the viability study required by California’s Public Banking Act, the first stage in the process of applying for a public bank charter, and is now at work on the bank’s business plan.

ONE REASON AMERICAN MOVIES ARE SO BAD these days is they have forgotten how to tell a story. Stuff just happens to characters. Cause, effect, and consequence no longer exist in the workshops of Hollywood. And one might sense that these imperatives are likewise missing from what used to be known as real life in the USA, with all its stories and narratives. Stuff just happens to the people in this country now. And then sometimes, stuff un-happens. — James Kunstler

THE TRIBUTES to former Clinton Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who died this week at 84, are sickening to read. The lede for her obituary should read very simply: Chief architect of a sanction regime that killed 500,000 Iraqi children, whose deaths she said were “worth it.” — Jeffrey St. Clair

MATTHEW DOWD: “I will say this again having worked with Ted Cruz in 2000 campaign: when people asked me why do folks take such an instant dislike to Cruz, my answer was it saves time.”

MALCOLM MACDONALD: Ever consider trading your crying baby for a set of car tires? Probably not, but one Fort Bragg couple did back in the 1920s. How it transpired and what happened to the so-called “Tire Baby” is one of twenty-two tales recounted in my new book, Mendocino History Exposed. Mendocino History Exposed is now available at two bookstores in Fort Bragg: The Bookstore at 137 E. Laurel St. 707-964-6559 and Windsong at 324 N. Main St. 707-964-2050. Of course, you can always try Gallery Bookshop in Mendocino. 707-937-2665. Try out their easy to maneuver website: gallerybookshop.com. Ever let your horse shoot a weapon? Well, amid the description of the Frost-Coates feud in chapter eight of Mendocino History Exposed, you will find the true events of the shooting horse which I fictionalized to some degree in the novel Outlaw Ford. Grab a copy of Outlaw Ford at Gallery Bookshop before the price goes up on April 1st.

JOHN McCOWEN ON SHOPPING CARTS: An ordinance was never really needed since everyone who commandeers a shopping cart for their personal use is in possession of stolen property. The mere fact they are pushing a cart provides probable cause for law enforcement to intervene. But when the ordinance was first adopted the Ukiah Police Department was very successful in getting compliance, mostly voluntarily. In short order we went from nearly 5 dozen individuals possessing carts to about two or three. Enforcement since then has been spotty, partly because UPD (like many agencies) has been chronically understaffed. But recently, with the leadership of a new chief, I think I’m seeing a renewed commitment to enforce the shopping cart ordinance/prohibition on possession of stolen property. In the last few days a couple of individuals in possession of carts were arrested, not for the cart (which would have been a cite and release) but for possession of a controlled substance and a dirk or dagger.

A MAGAZINE PIECE BEGAN, “Julia Laitte writes about the effects of Dear John letters on soldiers’ mental health and the consequences for the women who wrote them.”

AS A KID, I was in a platoon with a guy named Dave Miller who read his Dear John letter to all of us. I’ll never forget it because he thought it was funny and we thought it was even funnier. From memory: “Dear Dave. I don’t know how to tell you this without making you mad, but I’ve fallen in love with your father and we’re getting married. I guess from now on you can call me Mom.” Dave said, “If that ain’t a bitch…”

GOVERNOR NEWSOM and the Democrats are talking about a gasoline rebate of $600-$800. A Republican (of all people) has a better idea. Suspend the gas taxes of around $1.21/gal) and pay for the loss out of the $4 billion surplus Newsom says his savvy leadership has accrued. Will the majority state Democrats go for the Repug’s better idea? Of course not.

A SOUTH CAROLINA WOMAN was nearly mauled to death by three pit bulls this week. Pits oughta be banned. They’re dangerously unpredictable. And most of their owners are psychos or simply too irresponsible to own these beasts, or any other dependent creature. Psychos of course prefer the breed because they are dangerous. The typical Pit owner would have Bengal tigers if they were available.

I INHERITED a half-Pit that I became very fond of, but even he was unpredictable, nipping me occasionally at no apparent provocation. He was also an embarrassing racist, immediately going off on non-white people at sight. And barely under control in the most serene circumstances although his previous owners had put him through two training courses.

UKRAINE. Putin has attempted to put a positive spin on his disastrous invasion, saying that the first phase of his military campaign in Ukraine was over. Er, what, then, was the point, Vlad besides random death, massive destruction and millions of displaced people? This one megalomaniac holds the fate of all of us in his miscalculating hands, the most ominous fact of life since Adam and Eve.

FATAL STABBING in Wells Fargo Parking Lot, Ukiah on Saturday — Leslie Adelman arrested. Victim and stabber described as “transients.”

Leslie Adelman

Our booking logs show that Mr. Adelman has had numerous prior contacts with law enforcement going back to 2017:

  • 09/17 Switchblade in vehicle.
  • 11/17: Arson of inhabited structure, possession of destructive device.
  • 01/18: Failure to appear
  • 03/18: Failure to appear.
  • 04/18: Probation revocation.
  • 09/18: Probation revocation.
  • 02/19: Criminal threats
  • 09/19: Trespassing, entering without permission.
  • 09/19: Probation revocation
  • 05/20: Drunk in public.
  • 09/20: Probation revocation.
  • 09/20: Camping in Ukiah.
  • 03/22: Yelling at store customers, counseled.

ON-LINE WITS immediately posted these two responses to the murder: 

1. Ukiah spelled backwards is obituary.

2. Ukiah haiku

Downtrodden, haven of death

Methamphetamine

UNSOLICITED ADVICE for candidate Redding as he loses bigly to incumbent Fifth District supervisor, Ted Williams. John, ask Williams specific questions about his stands on purely local issues. Battling Williams on Facebook with ironic replies to his big-think Gotchas won’t get you anywhere, especially in these irony-challenged times in this irony-challenged place. I’m pleased you’ll at least get a couple of rigged public opportunities to “debate” him. (I say “rigged” because all questions will be in writing, then culled, by a Democrat hatchet-crone. Anyway, use the scant opportunity you’ll get to pop these questions:

1. Are supervisors overpaid given the light demands on them?

2. Given that many line county employees also qualify for food stamps, will you introduce pay raises for them and pay freezes for management?

3. Do you intend to end the pointless beef with the Sheriff?

4. Do you approve spending large amounts of public tax money via the consent calendar?

5. What exactly did assistant county health director, Doc Doohan, do for her $100,000 contract?

6. Why do you (and your colleagues) approve hiring expensive Frisco lawyers to handle routine personnel disputes when the county maintains a staff of 8-10 county-paid attorneys?

7. Do you support State Senator McGuire’s Great Redwood Trail even though it will cost over $1 billion by their own estimates?

8. Do you support a new County Courthouse, despite the significant unfunded impact on the affected local departments?

9. Why did you support the CEO’s lie that John McCowen had stolen county property?

10. What specifically have you done for the 5th District?

WHEN BIDEN, as usual having trouble reading off the teleprompter, went off-script to say what every non-Russian person in the world hopes — that Putin is removed, Biden’s handlers quickly went to Wolf Blitzer et al to say that’s not what Biden went. Ironic that the guy makes his first true statement in days and the world comes down on his head. But doddering Joe’s true statement only confirms Putin’s claim that the US and NATO are after him, also a true perception on Vlad’s part but one that’s supposed to go unstated.

PUT TO A PEOPLE’S VOTE, ‘Spider Man’ was the best movie of the year. Or was it some other cartoon epic? Power of the Dog was, uh, well, silly and pretentious, I’d say, but silly and pretentious is what the Oscars are these days, what with parades of fuzz brains prattling on about how woke they are, as in Jamie Lee Curtis telling the media pack today that “Putin is a laughingstock.” Oh yeah? Who’s laughing? Putin’s got the whole world in his hands, as the song goes and nobody knows how rational he is.

FOR THOSE OF YOU who missed it, he said with a self-deprecating laugh, here’s my updated review of the ho hum movie about to get one ‘a them little movie star statues: ‘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 closet case narrative was murky unlike, say, ‘Brokeback Mountain,’ based on the great Annie Proulx’s short story. I’d read the story before seeing the movie, but if I hadn’t read it beforehand I wouldn’t have supposed the two cowboys were going up the hill for a season of sodomy. Anyway, the precious story of ‘Power of the Dog’ is set on a Montana cattle ranch, circa 1920. The acting is so good the implausible story line 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 beautiful deaf babe who persuaded photogenic Maoris joyously humping her piano over muddy 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 homophobic 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.”

ON LINE COMMENTS OF THE WEEK

[1] Years and years of training, education, and experience, not to mention the costs of becoming a “Psychiatrist”, and then he [Doctor Goodwin, a Mendo practitioner] assaults, rapes and makes use of Ketamine to traumatize his patients…

He should get a prison sentence to go with that license revocation…

There are many Doctors with drug problems, mental health issues and aberrant behavior…

Check out your provider, and it’s pretty scary how many employers engaged his services…

Remember, no matter what they have done, they may well go to another state and be re-instated… Happens all the time…

I worked at one Hospital where they were considering hiring a Doctor who had sexually assaulted children, and then they did hire a doctor who had “sold” prescription drugs… Both of these guys were license-revoked and then re-instated in a different state.

Another facility I worked within, had a “traveler” doc who was addicted to Amphetamines, who took drugs from the pharmacy, and who failed to keep his patient encounter notes for 11 months…

I couldn’t make up stuff like this. Be careful when consuming medical care…

[2] THE WALKING WOUNDED, an on-line comment: 

I was a mental health clinician is my career for many moons. I’ve watched lots of exhausted, broken hearted family members attempt to house, provide for, their loved ones, only to be “outmatched” by a chronic mental illness or addiction. Sure, finances is a definite issue, but not the biggest one I’ve seen. Paranoia, danger to family members, pets, neighbors, suicide attempts, repeated 1 night stays in the ER or Crisis, multiple law enforcement contacts, non medication compliance are a few examples. With addiction, frequently lying, manipulation, theft, criminal activity, and much of the above I mentioned are crushing. I invite folks to attend a NAMI meeting or Codependents Anon mtg to hear how families suffer and cope, and of course if anyone needs support themselves. I think we need a total systems overall and big money for state of the art facilities. I think Denmark and Portugal have different and successful systems ? Don’t quote me on that, I’m tired.

[3] Thankfully I quit doing “cocaina” over 25 years ago. Back then you didn’t have fentanyl so the only thing you had to worry about with cocaine was;

1. heart attack

2. speedballs with heroin chasers

3. “recon” coca cut with baby powder

4. spending every penny to get more

Besides those little things there was no problem.

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