JOHN MCCOWEN: The Supervisors are supposed to make decisions in public based on information that is in the public record, in order that the public is able to understand why the Supervisors are making decisions and on what basis. But there is no information in the public record that analyzes the merger of the Treasurer-Tax Collector and Auditor-Controller's offices. None! And I don't expect the Supervisors to develop this analysis, for all the reasons that you mention. But one of the primary responsibilities of the CEO is to provide the Supervisors with the information they need in order to make informed decisions. In this regard, CEO Carmel Angelo failed over and over and over again. The collective failing of the Board of Supervisors (current and past) is they repeatedly failed to hold the CEO accountable for failing to do her job. The result is the Supervisors have been put in a position of making decisions without having sufficient information in front of them to justify the decisions they're making. For the most part, the recommended actions are appropriate, and no harm is done. But in too many cases the recommended actions are setting the stage for public policy failures that misuse or squander personnel and fiscal resources. Carmel Angelo has bailed out just as the chickens are beginning to come home to roost. No one ever said she wasn't smart.
AN UNHAPPY NORTH COUNTY PERSON wrote in under a gender non-specific pseudonym to denounce another North Coast person unknown to me. When I asked Anon for the specifics of its unhappiness and what public interest it might have, Anon denounced me as a “far, far right old windbag.” (And all this time I thought I was a far, far left old windbag!) And for asking if I was corresponding with a he or a she, Anon replied that I was “fag bashing.” I have discontinued non-binary communications with Anon.
THE RUSSIANS have commenced shelling of Ukraine's port city of Odessa, a city with much splendid architecture and non-combatant citizens inhabiting it. Meanwhile, on the evening news from the we-all-read-from-the-same-script-big-white-teeth people at CNN and MSNBC the glib talkers wonder if Putin has committed “war crimes.” I'll go wayyyyyy out on a limb and say, Yes, he has, unless indiscriminate bombing and shelling of civilian habitat is no longer considered a war crime.
NOT TO defend Vlad the Oligarch, but instead of a steady deluge out of the White House and its captive media constantly listing Russian atrocities, Biden's handlers ought to tone down the war crime talk and tune up language aimed at bringing this atrocity to an end before it expands or sets off the nukes. Yes, Putin is an irremediably bad person whose armies either lack elementary command discipline or are murdering civilians for the hell of it — probably both — but implacable war crime rhetoric coming out of our implacably ga-ga president makes a cease fire ever more unlikely.
AS OUR ALL AGAINST ALL civil war kicks off, the utter intractability of the Trumpers is more and more evident, and confirmed by the recent PBS Frontline documentary called “The Plot to Overturn the Election,” narrator A.C. Thompson presents the wealthy and well-funded lunatics working to destroy faith in our elections, one of our remaining institutions ordinary citizens can still trust.
FALSE CLAIMS of election fraud are believed by about 75% of registered Republicans. But despite the millions of dollars spent by wealthy Trumpers to prove election fraud, they have discovered there wasn't any, which doesn't prevent them, with ex-General Flynn leading the charge, from continuing to make the claim.
MY FAVE FASCIST appearing in the PBS documentary's collection of straight-up nut cases is an Arizona candidate for state office endorsed, of course, by Trump, named Mark Finchem. Finchem is on record as declaring vaccination against covid is “a crime against humanity” and routinely describes harmless libs of the active Democrat type as “Marxists,” as in when he says, “Of course the Marxists say the election wasn't rigged.”
EVEN WHEN there were communists in this country, most of them weren't exactly Marxists, especially if Marxists are defined as people who've read with understanding the sacred texts beyond The Communist Manifesto, a joint declaration of Karl and his wealthy friend and sponsor, Frederick Engels, now available in a spiffy little edition by Verso with an introduction by Eric Hobsbawm, a Marxist historian. To dismiss all non-Trumpers as “Marxists” is actually funny.
HOW ABOUT YOU, Mr. Editor, are you a Marxist? Kind of, I guess. I think the basic arguments about how capitalist societies are organized are irrefutable, but I've never been able to read the theories beyond the Manifesto without falling asleep.
CHUCK WILCHER relays the sad news that long time coast resident Ren Oschin passed away Tuesday. She was 78. “She was a good soul and will be missed by many.”
A READER WRITES: “We agree entirely with your position re the new courthouse. One of your letter writers asked why the citizens haven't been asked their opinions. How about setting up a survey in the paper requesting our opinions? Although they seem to be irrelevant on many things, at least it would give us a place to vent. After all, whether it's county, state or federal money paying for the new garbage, er, courthouse building, in the end it is our money.”
ED NOTE: The new courthouse proponents consist of a single retired judge and no one else (publicly). The state judicial apparatus enjoys a sort of automatic eminent domain status that allows cush new quarters for their majesties to proceed without public approval, further arguing that since the Ukiah City Council hasn't opposed the project and its democratically elected… Even by Mendo's low bar standards, if a new county courthouse were put to a vote it would be slam-dunked. Nobody wants this thing except our judges and the outside (of course) contractors who will get the work.
AS OF MONDAY NIGHT, The Press Democrat is being printed at the San Francisco Chronicle’s production site in Fremont. How the mighty have fallen!
WASN’T ALL THAT LONG AGO that the Rose City daily, via the New York Times, invested heavily in a huge printing plant housing the latest in print technology, a huge electronic press housed in a mammoth plant fronted by a vast lawn just south of Santa Rosa, the surreal entirety of it highly visible off southbound 101. The lawn alone, what with water and chemicals and 24-hour dandelion and gopher protection cost thousands a month in upkeep.
MIKE GENIELLA REMEMBERS, “The New York Times, soon after buying the PD, invested $40 million-plus in the printing plant site and state-of-the-art press. It even had robotic devices loading newsprint onto the new press, a marvel at the time. The PD was the envy of most newspapers thanks to the infusion of NYT money, which also covered an interior remodel of the downtown PD headquarters housing the news, advertising, and circulation departments. There was a host of other benefits from the NYT cash infusion, including charitable contributions to local museums, events, etc. I was even allowed to have a charge account at Wildberger's, the iconic downtown Ukiah market where I used to get supplies for the Ukiah bureau.”
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT was so central to the life of much of the Northcoast, including all of Mendocino County, that Geniella, and often a second Ukiah-based reporter, and even one based on the Mendocino Coast for awhile, were kept busy covering events in the county.
THIRTY-FIVE YEARS LATER, newspapers in paper form, including this one, are dead or dying, murdered by the internet.
HOW IMPORTANT to Mendocino County was the Press Democrat and, before it was looted by a hedge fund, the Ukiah Daily Journal? Look no farther than the functioning of county government. The AVA is the only media remaining that covers county functioning, and we’re easily cordoned off by the supervisors because there’s no media back-up for our comprehensive reports on official wrongdoing and the simple incompetence of our supervisors. The PD and the Journal would have made it impossible for the gross derelictions that we report because they would have weighed in on the more egregious offenses against the public good.
RIGHT HERE in Boonville, beginning in the early 1950’s and into the early 1970’s, the late Homer Mannix operated a kind of living print museum on the ground floor of the eponymous Mannix Building, in which Homer also housed the justice court he presided over and an apartment for the mysterious Marie Helme, the last of the hand typesetters plucking, at ambidextrous, hummingbird speeds, each letter of every word from an overhead type case. Marie hand-crafted every edition of each weekly edition of the Anderson Valley Advertiser, which was then produced on an ancient linotype machine.
EVERY AFTERNOON after finishing her literally incredible task, once shared by thousands of similarly highly trained American printers going all the way back to Benjamin Franklin, Marie, a familiar sight in downtown Boonville clad in her long black coat, made her way down the street to the Boonville Lodge for a single short-bottle of beer the bar kept in stock just for her. Marie was perched at the end of the bar one afternoon quietly sipping her beer when another patron was shot dead. Marie finished her beer, picked her way unobtrusively through the tumult and walked on back to her room at the Mannix building.
HOMER’S MULTIPLE ENTERPRISES were a labyrinthian combination of small apartments and ground floor businesses with his antique print shop the star attraction. (Homer’s nephew, Mike Mannix of Boonville, knows all the stories, and Mike is well worth a trip to the Boonville transfer station where he presides to hear them between customers.) Marie had come west after a stay in a Michigan state hospital for treatment for her compulsion to disrobe and stroll about public places which, in 1940’s Michigan, was considered aberrant behavior even in California.
THIS PUBLICATION manages to survive against competition from innumerable free websites; podcasts; what’s left of other newspapers; radio; television (where a majority of Americans get all their information about the great world beyond); the round-the-clock deluge of dubious information delivered by the internet; music; movies, and whatever face-to-face human intercourse remains when we’re not looking at a screen.
THE BOONVILLE WEEKLY was founded 70 years ago by Eugene ‘Geno’ Jamison, a Native American “born right here in Covelo, April 2, 1915. I'm a Nomlackie-Concow Indian. I was raised by my paternal grandfather most of the time. My mother was also born here in Round Valley. In 1926, at the age of eleven, I was shipped off to an Indian school, the Sherman Indian Institute for Orphans in Riverside County. I was there for six years. I went through academic training, military style training. I was 17 when I finished at Sherman, graduating in '32. I wanted to go to the Marines or the Navy because of those six years under military training. You went to bed at somebody's command, you got up at somebody's command. I learned the basics of printing in the school's print shop. I received 10,000 hours and six years of vocational training in printing at that school. I never did make it to the Marines, going to work for the Arlington Times instead. That's where I really learned the printing trade.”
JAMISON went on to spend years at the Mendocino Beacon, settling in Mendocino to raise a family. Geno wouldn’t recognize today’s newspaper business. He saw the best of it.
70 YEARS LATER, the AVA, once produced entirely in Boonville, is assembled electronically in Boonville but printed in Hayward, trucked from Hayward to Healdsburg, then carried to Boonville by car where the editor himself distributes it in the Anderson Valley. Subscriber editions are bundled into mail bags by zip code and dropped off Thursday afternoon at the Boonville Post Office where a mail guy picks them up and off loads them in Cloverdale where a southbound mail truck retrieves them in the middle of the night for deposit at the vast NorCal Oakland distribution center, from where the Mendo bags are sent back to the various post offices of Mendocino County and points beyond.
THINGS can go wrong at any point in this complicated process but, surprisingly haven’t. So far.
AS PRINT PEOPLE die off or treacherously trade their newspapers for telephonically transmitted updates on the Kardashians, the AVA in print form dies a little each week. We’re doing better at our daily on-line paper, making Boonville’s beloved weekly one of a media minority to turn a tiny profit behind a pay wall. I’m encouraged to often hear from on-line customers that the AVA has become their morning newspaper. Me, I’ll always miss the print editions of the SF Chronicle, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat and all the in-county newspaper-newspapers.
THE WILLITS RAIL TRAIL was discussed at a March 10 Community Meeting, held via Zoom. The Willits Rail Trail is a 1.6-mile Class 1 separated bicycle and pedestrian pathway that will be built on the rail corridor. The city of Willits secured $6 million in grant funding in 2019 for the project. Design and implementation of the trail is currently underway. Once completed, the trail will be part of the statewide effort to build the Great Redwood Trail. City of Willits Community Development Director Dusty Duley provided some background information on the project, which dates back to the 1990s. He said, “I just want to acknowledge the past 20 years of effort by the community, (City) Council and staff to get to this point.” (The Willits News) ED NOTE: And a bargain at a mere $6 mil.
CONSENT CALENDAR Item 3m approved without discussion or comment along with the rest of the consent calendar on Tuesday, April 5, 2022):
KEY PROVISION: “Clerk of the Board has established an overflow/viewing room in Conference Room B, which will have two sets of open double doors leading to the Administration Building quad, in order to provide air flow for attendees. For the safety of others, we request that attendees watch the meeting from the more ventilated overflow room, and enter Chambers when it is time for Public Comment on their item(s) of interest. Once they’ve provided their comments, we request that they return to the overflow room for continued viewing of the meeting.”
THE FIRST of many fiscal time bombs gifted to Mendocino County by departed CEO Angelo: When in-person meetings of the Supervisors resume, members of the public will cool their heels in a little side room, watching the meeting on tv while they wait for their name to be called to directly address their majesties. Speakers must then retreat to the isolation chamber from whence they are presumably free to leave, their matter certain to have been ignored. The new CEO, Ms. Antle, is the clerk of the board referred to.
THE 'MARMON ROOM,' as we've dubbed the new iso cell is in honor of James Marmon, against whom the former CEO enacted a frivolous restraining order.
THIS FARCICAL innovation is not only a total waste of public money but more evidence that none of these supervisors should be returned for another term. Unfortunately, only Third District Supervisor John Haschack and 5th District Supervisor Williams appear on the June ballot.
AND NEEDLESS TO SAY, both Haschak and Williams are supported for re-election by the obliviously feckless Mendo Democrats, but we hope Third District voters go for Clay Romero despite his obvious political shortcomings.
REDDING OVER WILLIAMS in the 5th? Why not? The combative and dependably volatile Redding would of course be cordoned off by the CEO and her four automatons, but Redding would at least bring some life to this particular political House of the Dead.
IN THE THIRD DISTRICT IN THE 4TH DISTRICT we have incumbent John Haschak vs. Clay Romero, a Trump conservative who, like John Redding, would certainly enliven Supes proceedings if he got elected. But also like Redding vs. Williams, Romero has zero chance against Haschak because Willits, and much of the Third, except for pockets of monkey-wrenching bush hippies who would vote for Romero simply for the theater of his election, exists in the same oppressive, impenetrable miasmic stew of conservative liberalism as expressed by the Democratic Party. Haschak, like his four colleagues, has unfailingly signed off on whatever irresponsible spending scheme the boss ladies put in front of him.
NICOLE GLENTZER is running against incumbent County Schools Superintendent, Michele Hutchins. The following is from Ms. Glentzer's website: ”If you're paying close attention to this race, you've probably felt a shift in momentum these last few weeks. It is clear that Mendocino County is ready for Nicole's positivity and integrity at the Superintendent's Office. With just 60 days(!) until election day, it's all hands on deck to make sure county schools get the leadership we deserve.”
THERE are zero issues in this race, hence Ms. G's confused statement about “positivity,” probably loaned to the candidate by the noted philologist and former superintendent, Paul Tichinin.
STOP the next ten Mendo people on the street and ask them what the County Office of Education does. Most would answer, “We have a county office of education.?” We do, and a lotta money flows into out and out of it to the individual school districts of Mendocino County.
WHICH is exactly the vague beef here. The Ukiah edu-octopus feels it isn't properly deferred to as the county's largest school complex so, having run one of their vapid male administrators against Ms. Hutchins four years ago who Hutchins handily defeated they've come up with one of their own.
THE UKIAH edu-brain trust, supported by Tichinin and another dull-normal called Damon Dickinson, came up with the cynical idea of running a woman against the female incumbent, and here comes Ms. Glentzer with her basket of “positivity” in which she also carries an a non-positive allegation of lack of “integrity,” by which she means, what?
WHO KNOWS? Back when words still had meaning, an “educator” wouldn't be so careless, but here we are in a situation where incumbent Hutchins has scrupulously ensured that the county's far-flung school districts get their fair share of funding and educational attention, it would be sad to see the County Office revert to the cronyism and grasping idiocy of the Tichinin years.
APRIL SNOW SURVEY: NO SNOW IN MENDO
U.S. Forest Service - Mendocino National Forest
Although there was some snow in the area, there was no snow to be measured at both the Anthony Peak and Plaskett Meadows sampling sites. Mendocino Pass on FH7 is still impassable.
Historically the April 1 average is 26.9 inches for Anthony Peak and 15.2 inches for Plaskett Meadows, based on measurements made during years 1991-2020. The last time crews measured zero snow for the April survey was in 2015.
Read more: https://go.usa.gov/xux8q
GUESS WHO'S BUILDING Mendocino County's new county courthouse? These people: constructiondive.com/news/architecture-firm-shells-out-12m-to-settle-va-dept-bribery-case/425232/
THE NEW COUNTY COURTHOUSE in brief: The elected sector of the NorCal Democratic Party, beginning with and led by Congressman Doug Bosco, took control of the Northwestern Pacific Railroad where they parked Party old boys at lucrative salaries, people like Dan Hauser and Mitch Stogner, promising all the while to get the line going again as it stagnated but remained state-funded by the Democrat-dominated state government.
AS TIME passed and memory faded, helped along by a disinterested media, the Democrats maintained the defunct line's valuable right of way, presently key to the mother of all NorCal scams, The Great Redwood Trail, already recipient of large sums of public money. Along the way Bosco magically became the railroad's creditor, to be paid off out of state funds.
THE SITE for the new county courthouse in Ukiah that no one except its judicial beneficiaries wants is land owned by Guess Who? The Democrat-owned, long defunct but very valuable, rail line. The Democrat-Train-Free Railroad sold the site for the new courthouse that used to be a rail station and yard just off West Perkins to the state's judicial apparatus, and here we are with a political party allegedly existing to serve the unsuspecting public parceling off the rail line between Marin and Eureka that they've somehow become owners of. The new courthouse, incidentally, isn't required to do an EIR because judges' facilities are exempt from the pesky requirements everyone else must abide by.
AND WHAT ABOUT all the public functions housed in the present and perfectly serviceable county courthouse, functions like the DA? He'll have to jog up and down the three long blocks between the present courthouse and the new courthouse near the foot of West Perkins. The promoters of this massive boondoggle vaguely promise privately-owned ancillary buildings will be constructed which will house the displaced DA et al. Assuming private persons invest in surrounding new structures — and why wouldn't they, what with lucrative county-paid leases dangled before their sugar plum eyes? — the new courthouse will go up first, having been declared by the state judges a "priority" project, probably fearing that Mendocino County might wake up to stop it as word slowly gets around that a new county courthouse is underway.
AS PREDICTED by the Boonville weekly when the arrests in the phony case were first announced in 2020, a Michigan jury has acquitted two militia-type yobbos of all charges in a plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. A mistrial was declared in the prosecution of the two alleged leaders.
THE CASES against the big talking camo fantasists was the work of an implanted FBI snitch who, as per ancient history of the world's most over-rated police force founded by a cross-dressing nutcase early in the 20th century, goaded the four dummies into saying they planned to kidnap their bubble-headed governor.
THE FBI has been doing this kind of thing for a hundred years, all the way back to the first wave of American anarchists and socialists whose documented persecution was publicly-funded and led by J. Edgar Cocktail Dress.
MY-MY, WOULDN'T you just know that right here in Mendocino County the FBI was working its undercover magic circa 1990, the Redwood Summer period, operating out of the Mendocino Environment Center conveniently located at 106 West Standley across the street from the County Courthouse and owned by solid citizen, John McCowen. The pretext? Hippie tree huggers were engaged in industrial sabotage, a federal crime.
MY OPINION, of course, but explain how Judi Bari's ex-husband was magically excluded from the primary suspect pool, he being a man with a history of immediate proximity to political violence all the way back to his days as a Stanford undergrad in the 1960s? (And with free office space at the MEC while he gulled the Democrats out of recycling grants he parlayed into a cush County job as the County's trash czar.)
THE BOMB was slipped by Sweeney under the driver's seat of Bari's Subaru while it was parked in front of the MEC. The device was designed to get it down the road out of Mendocino County where our hero had made it. Like his three previous bombs, the Bari bomb did not explode as designed when it went off in Oakland, thus sparing her life but killing her seven years later.)
BY 1990, the FBI was fresh from a crude attempt to frame Earth First! founder, Dave Foreman. An FBI agent by the name of Fain talked an Arizona group of Earth First!ers close to Foreman into taking down a power line out in the desert. “Hey, guys. I'll bring the explosives,” Fain had assured them. Thus duped, the gang that couldn't skeptical straight was arrested and packed off to the federal pen. The FBI never was able to nail the charismatic Foreman, the man they believed was responsible for environmental defense tumult.
WHAT WITH international terrorism and a restive America teeming with Trumpian blowhards fantasizing about a revolution with their Orange Oracle eternally at its head, the FBI has been busy framing retarded Arabs and dumbkopfs like the Michigan beer and gun club for the last thirty years.
ON LINE COMMENTS OF THE WEEK
 I was in a department store yesterday. I noticed that in this particular store, as in many other businesses I’ve been in, they have gone ahead and installed much more permanent-looking plexiglass barriers only this year.
They also had another increasingly common feature- I was paying in cash, but I was still directed to use the stylus to tap the electronic screen. They have some inane question you just have to answer yes or no to, or agree with.
The cashier apologized, because she was locked out of the register unless I used the screen.
She told me that people did not like touching the screen, so they were trying to get people to use their app to avoid touching anything.
More and more of the chains are doing this, you are paying cash but you still have to interact with the electronic screen anyway.
I even think that’s why CVS has been handing out those ridiculously long receipts. They wish to annoy you so much you will quit asking for a receipt and do it all electronically.
 The unfortunate truth is that the credibility of our country and governing class stands at a low point. The biggest obstacle to our taking effective action in the world is ourselves-our largely self-imposed economic, military, and moral weakness. In today's political climate, with America's international leadership ebbing fast, and its presidential office occupied by a visibly incompetent blunderer, whose incautious public blusterings can be taken no more seriously than the rantings of a child, the United States is simply in no shape to take on the long and complex work of international diplomacy. Based on our recent track record, there is no reason to believe we have the capacity, as a nation, to sustain a serious effort in that direction. Instead, since at least the 2000 election, we have saved most of our energies for vicious and unproductive domestic politics, including an astonishingly deceitful effort, undertaken with the support of high-ranking officials in our intelligence agencies, to convince the American people that their president had been elected by means of 'collusion' with the Russians. We have been living in a dream world, thinking that our conspicuous internal divisions, exposed to all the world, would never be used against us, someday and somehow, to maximum effect. We are paying the price for having been, for too long, an unserious nation governed by unserious people.
 Nothing against Tiger Woods. It just bugs me that he accrued no charges from the driving incident. I have been to hundreds of car accidents. I have seen people wreck their cars and be charged by the police for all sorts of offenses even though no other party was injured. For example, I had a guy hit a deep puddle and careen off the street with his beater F150 and total his truck on a tree. Busted face, did not want an ambulance. Poor son ‘o bitch needed that truck. Cop wrote him up for speeding, lanes violation, etc. I tried to talk to the cop but he was a young whippersnapper and had no use for my common sense. Pissed me off. I’ve been out of the towing business for 10 years now. Even back then there were the prick cops and the good cops.
Prick cop: Everybody's an asshole and the enemy
Good Cop: I’ll listen to what you have to say
 As part of my job I was tasked with finding a rental for an employee who was commuting every day from Nice to Manchester! I looked every work day and on Sundays for a year, on multiple sites, new listings automatically sent to me daily... and the rare times there was a listing, the prices were absolutely gobsmacking. On AVERAGE they were listed for $1-2K per bdrm, but a few 3-4 bedrooms, and I kid you not, they' were asking $15-30K PER MONTH. And I'm not referring to coastal homes/ocean front at all, (because there are none out here, they've all been left vacant to be Air B&B's which suck the life out of the local community... visitors spend hundreds per night, and then when they're here, complain that nothing's open, or so few dining and shopping choices. Because no working person earning a wage can possibly afford rents. Thus the viscous cycle) The high rents I saw were throughout Mendocino county. And people look down on those who are forced to live in their cars, assuming ill of them. When in fact, they're hardworking people with jobs, but no affordable housing! The wage/rent gap is untenable and obscene. I was on the leading edge of that 7 years ago, when a Foreign National woman bought my house, paid cash, 3x the asking price. Tore out the front yard and 75 year old apple tree and literally paved across the entire front of the property turning it into parking for 4! And then she tripled my rent... so... this has been building for a while. Now the levels are not just precarious, but, deadly. Alas."
ON LINE EXCHANGE OF THE WEEK
John Redding [Re ‘Who Signed What When and Why’ by Malcolm Macdonald]: Macdonald always looks the fool when pretending to write on financial matters. Which is why he writes for a small, backwater publication and not Bloomberg or Forbes. Macdonald’s lack of financial knowledge made it easy for former Board Chair McColley to manipulate him into believing that writing a check for a legal obligation (loan repayment) or letting Adventist Health get their own money is equally as bad as her writing a check to Jacob Patterson even though she knew full well Patterson was not employed by the District.
It has all the earmarks of a coverup, doesn’t it?
Ed note: “Small, backwater publication”? For the record, Boonville’s beloved weekly has been featured in the WSJ, the NYT, the SF Chron and so on, not to mention its national circulation, albeit shrinking as newspaper readers shuffle off this seething mortal coil taking with them America’s last generations of literate citizens. Malcolm’s reporting? Irrefutable, hence the dyspeptic Mr. Redding’s resort to insult.