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Mendocino County Today: Monday, April 18, 2022

Wind Rain | Pink Moon | Snide Remark | Coast View | County Notes | Seeing Wildflowers | Ed Notes | Cat Adoption | Ukraine | Spay Neuter | Decent Solution | Candidate Senum | Redwood Sorrel | Amazing Coalition | History Day | Missing Restitution | Bill Wagner | Tweak Truck | Empty Words | Better Actress | MCHCD Backstory | Yesterday's Catch | Your Hypocrisy | Baumgardner Book | Crushing Dissent | Dust Storm | Vonnegut Letter | McGovern Poems | Monet's Garden | Housing Greed | Billionaire Insider | What's Easter | Bunny Tracks | Postmodern News | Trespassers | Cannabis Headache

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FROST ADVISORY remains in effect until 9 am PDT this morning.

GUSTY SOUTH WINDS will develop across exposed ridges and coastal areas this morning through early afternoon. Thereafter, widespread rainfall is forecast to occur across the entire region, with showers persisting into Tuesday. Another round of gusty south winds and widespread beneficial rain will occur on Wednesday, with additional low elevation rain and locally heavy mountain snow occurring during Thursday. (NWS)

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PHOTO BY JUDY VALADAO who says, "The first full moon of Spring happened last night. You many have noticed a slight pink tint to it. April's full moon is known as the pink moon - named for the pink wildflowers that bloom in early spring in eastern North America, according to the Farmer's Almanac. It's also linked to several major religious holidays, including Easter."

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MEA CULPA

Dear Editor,

In the April 12 online edition of your newspaper, Mr. John Redding wrote, in part: "Norvell, Williams and Macdonald have appeared at the District's Board meetings voicing their support for this dissolution" [of the District Board].

In the Comments section of that edition, I misspoke myself, implying that Mssrs. Macdonald, Supervisor Williams and Fort Bragg Mayor Norvell, "perhaps" had a hidden agenda.

I was wrong in this insinuation. It was a bit of early morning snark on my part which was -- and remains -- not one whit accurate or true.

I apologize to each and every one of them, the AVA and your readers for this unfounded and uncalled for snide remark that had and has no basis in fact.

To my further chagrin, it turns out that neither Supervisor Williams nor reporter Macdonald (even) serve on the ad hoc committee, the scope and purpose of which was clearly explained in Mayor Norvell's reply to Mr. Redding's commentary.

Again, my profound apologies to each and all.

Lee Edmundson, Mendocino

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Calla Lilies (photo by Dick Whetstone)

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COUNTY NOTES

by Mark Scaramella

SUPERVISOR MULHEREN: “Spent some time in the Mitchell Creek Neighborhood to prepare for Tuesdays meeting. I’m a person that would much rather physically investigate agenda items. Hope you all had a great Saturday!”

None of McCowen’s colleagues supported McCowen’s proposal that the hiring freeze even be discussed as a Board agenda item. And to this day the CEO remains the sole decider of whether any department can hire staff, budgeted or not. The result of this dubious arrangement is that some departments are so understaffed that staff burns out and some of them quit while in other departments work gets backlogged or postponed or ignored. The County and the Supervisors have never questioned what the impact of the CEO’s hiring freeze is and seem nonchalantly unconcerned about how much work is not getting done.

IN HER LETTER OF SUPPORT for Third District Supervisorial Candidate John Haschak back in 2018, former KZYX Cannabis Show Host Jane Futcher said she supported Haschak because Haschak said he wanted to:

• Create regional banking so cannabis businesses can conduct safe, non-cash transactions like every other business;

• Allow farmers to sell directly to customers through farmers’ markets; and,

• Encourage farm cooperatives that will help small permitted farms compete with industrial grows.

• Eliminate the county’s costly Trace and Trace program, which duplicates the state’s program;

• Keep cannabis inspections focused on cultivation compliance not on building-code enforcement;

• Calculate fees and taxes based on cannabis that is sold not what is grown, and,

• Find a path toward transferability of licenses.

Of course, Haschak has never brought any of these proposals forward as agenda items since then.

According to Mendocino County Code 10A.17 et seq. (Cannabis): “All Permits are non-transferable to another person.” Track and Trace is still required. Minimum taxes are still applied to Cottage permits ($1,250), Type 1 permits ($2,500) and Type 2 permits ($5,000) no matter how much cannabis is grown. We don’t know about “building ode enforcement” but nothing has been agendized on that subject. Haschak has mentioned cannabis collectives and farmers markets in passing a few times, but there’s no mention of collectives or farmers markets or direct sales in County Cannabis Code. However:

https://www.artsmendocino.org/event/mendocino-producers-guild-cannabis-farmers-market/

This appears to be an occasional boutique style event, not an ongoing marketing effort. And we don’t see any indication of actual pot sales, just more discussion of the subject and maybe some casual tasting.

“Regional banking” remains a non-starter. 

Not that any of this comes as a surprise, but as usual, the candidate hasn’t even raised these issues which presumably got him the support of Third District pot growers. It doesn’t matter anyway because Haschak’s opponent in the June Supervisors election hasn’t said a word about marijuana either.

This year Haschak’s campaign is even more empty and vague: “Creating enhanced economic opportunities. Ensuring we’re prepared to meet the challenges of natural disasters. Enacting strong, common sense cannabis regulations. Making sure our County has sound fiscal management and transparency.”

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MENDOCINO NEWS PLUS reposted our item about Supervisor Williams refusal to provide a $60k supplement to the AV Ambulance with the Title: “SUPERVISOR WILLIAMS TO The Anderson Valley Ambulance Service: ‘There Is No Money’”

Supervisor Williams responded in MNP: 

“That's a misstatement of my position.

It takes 3 votes to allocate county funds. A funding allocation to one (of 21) fire districts likely won’t succeed in light of the problem being widespread. The solution needs to be county wide or at least balanced.”

Mark Scaramella comments: We are all quite aware of how many votes Board decisions take. Apparently Supervisor Williams agrees that there’s a problem with Mendo’s ambulance servcies (especially inland) but he’s unwilling to address it unless he’s presented with a “county wide” solution or one which is “at least balanced” — whatever that may mean. Williams also presumes in advance that his colleagues would agree with whatever reluctance he seems to have, not even allowing the question to be considered by the Board to see if any of his colleagues that he unnecessarily reminds us about would agree. Of course, the problems of the county’s fractured ambulance servcices should be addressed “county-wide,” but as former Sheriff Allman and others reminded the Board the last time the subject arose, we need some short-term stop-gap measures like the one proposed by Chief Avila in the meantime. Especially considering that this Board of Supervisors has shown no interest in addressing the “county-wide” ambulance problem yet they rubber-stamp the $600k to the the tourism promoters no questions asked.

Williams replied: “We’ve created a JPA to begin addressing county wide ambulance service. “Board of Supervisors has shown no interest” conflicts with the largest fire and EMS allocations ever.

The EMCC did not approve (and couldn't even find a second) for the AV proposal. The other half of my ad-hoc committee, Supervisor Mulheren, has not signaled support for a one district allocation. Ambulance/fire services elsewhere in the county have complained about a single district allocation. A winning solution will be one that addresses the problem beyond the boundaries of D5.”

Scaramella: “… a JPA to begin addressing county wide ambulance service”? Where have we heard versions of this before? Like the EOA flop? The Triton study? The earlier consultant studies going all the way back to the 1990s? All of which acknowledged that the precarious inland ambulance arrangement needs more funding and attention than it’s getting. But very little was done and is being done. And when a sitting Supervisor says the Board will “begin addressing” something, we know what history tells us. Also, the subject here is ambulance services and their paltry funding streams. Let’s not pretend that whatever is meant by the bigger and off-topic subject of “largest fire and EMS allocations ever” are benefitting the ambulance services. By the way, what is wrong with short-term “one-district allocations”? Covelo and Anderson Valley are tied to the overall inland ambulance system and involve much longer travel times and don’t even get any revenue if they hand off the patient to an ALS ambulance. Any asistance they get would certainly benefit the overall service level. Nevertheless, please provide more info on this JPA and what they intend to do and when.

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DRIVING out the Valley or down the coast from Carmel we saw lupine and cali poppies everywhere. I've watched a small group of lupine on 253 for years. This year there are at least five different groupings which makes my heart sing. (Mary Pat Palmer)

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ED NOTES

MY TV NEWS CONSUMPTION is pretty much confined to ABC — “Building a better Bay Area, moving forward, finding solutions.” This Frisco-based news show has never indicated forward motion let alone solutions, but it's often very funny in unintended ways, and the smart people paid to say silly things on television must somehow rationalize what they do for a living as harmless. Trivializing info delivery isn't harmless, but let's keep things upbeat, ok?

THE BETTER BAY AREA BUILDERS are followed by the national news with David Muir, half the source of ongoing disagreement in the ava's plush editorial suite. One side to the disagrement insists Muir is phonier than Scott Simon of NPR, the other for Simon as the phonier, bogosity in a class all by itself, emotional fakery through and through, so clear it ought to be insulting, even to the NPR demographic. Dropping his voice a couple of octaves, “Please tell me, if you will — I know it's difficult — how you felt when your goldfish died.” Muir isn't even in it; he's just another news reader, although he did show up in Poland recently in his tailored combat jacket to report on the fighting from, natch, a safe distance away. (The BBC has reporters at the front.) With Muir I don't feel like leaping through the screen for his throat, but Simon? Instant ultra-vi.

THIS MORNING I tuned in CNN hoping to catch the dependably hilarious Wolf Blitzer scooting around his “Situation Room,” pointing at maps of global catastrophes, but instead caught a jolly fat guy named Brian Stetler just as he announced a real brow-furrower, “Why doesn't Joe Biden hold more press conferences? He's only had two this year.” 

WOW! I got all excited, especially given that CNN is a Democrat front. The Democrats were finally going to talk about their nude emperor! I assumed the guest expert would be a geriatrics specialist explaining that the poor guy barely knows where he is, that's why Joe Biden doesn't have more press conferences. But no. 

ON COMES a woman named Lynn Sweet, “Washington correspondent for the Chicago Sun-Times.” (Get back!) Ms. Sweet, a babed-out blonde in her 70s dressed like she was 30 and on her way to a singles bar, agreed that Biden, “with his great charm and real feeling for the American people” ought to appear more! America misses him! 

FORTUNATELY for my shaken sense of reality, Ms. Sweet was followed by Anne Applebaum of The New Yorker, a seriously serious person with a grimly reassuring Madam Defarge affect to match her serious seriousness. No blonde wig and bright-red funnsy-wunnsy red lipstick for Anne. 

APPLEBAUM was up early to talk about “America needs a better plan to fight autocracy.” A better plan? Where and what is the first plan? Occasionally, if not Cassandra herself, how about a bold soul — Chomsky — on national tv who simply expresses what millions of US feel in our bones — that we've seen the best of it, and now, assuming Putin doesn't finish us all off in the immediate future, it's all downhill in violently unpredictable ways. Firm up your mutual aid groups, America. It's going to get rough, and maybe even media-real.

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UKRAINE SUNDAY

Russia offered to spare the lives of Ukrainian soldiers fighting in Mariupol if they laid down their arms Sunday as the weekslong resistance in the besieged port city appeared to finally be coming to an end. 

The offer, made “out of purely humane principles,” gave Ukrainian forces still fighting in the city until 6 a.m. Moscow time (11 p.m. ET) to surrender, the Russian military said in a statement reported by the news agency TASS. 

There were no immediate reports of activity from Ukrainian forces in Mariupol. Were it to fall, it would be the first major city to be taken by Russian forces since the Feb. 24 invasion. 

There was also no immediate response from Kyiv.

A missile attack early Sunday damaged infrastructure in Brovary, near Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, Mayor Igor Sapozhko said in an online post.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said there was a “humanitarian crisis” in the city and that his soldiers were “blocked and wounded.” 

The Russian military could begin moving some of its forces back into Ukraine as soon as this weekend or early in the week, two senior U.S. defense officials said.

(NBC News)

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HOW ABOUT WEEDPATCH?

Editor: 

“The Grapes of Wrath,” a novel by John Steinbeck, painted a picture of the Weedpatch federal migrant labor camp near Bakersfield as an oasis from the “system” that, up until then, had no use for these down-and-outers. I’ve heard it mentioned before, but I think it’s a model that can be made to work with Project Homekey and the other things government is doing to address homelessness. At the least, aesthetically, trading blue tarps for Yosemite campground canvas-tarp-and-wood-frame cabins would move us closer to a decent solution for everyone.

Gene Koch

Camp Meeker

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MEET REINETTE

Candidates for Governor

There is a Meet and Greet with non-partisan candidate for Governor, Reinette Senum (former mayor of Nevada-City) at the Company Store in Fort Bragg on Monday, April 25 from 4-6 pm.

Come and ask your questions.

For more info go to: https://www.electreinette.com

The League of Women Voters is sponsoring a 5th District Candidates’ Forum on May 4, 6—7:30 pm, via zoom. Both Ted Williams and John Redding will be there to answer questions. Links/Registration information will be announced ahead of time.

Charles Acker <cacker@mcn.org>

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Montgomery Woods

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CHRIS SKYHAWK: 

We had am AMAZING coalition meeting yesterday (Saturday) of the Save Jackson state. As many of you know we battled to something of a standstill this summer with the loggers and Ca. Dept. of forestry, very few of the trees that were scheduled to be cut were, thanks to rallies, tree sits, civil disobedience and public pressure. In this pic Coyote Valley Tribal Chair, Michael Hunter is informing us of his progress with State Officials and his attempt to get tribal co-management on their traditional territories. Lawyer Polly Girvin also pictured here gave us the info on legal issues. This is one of the most marvelous campaigns I have ever been a part of, with 1st Nations people finding themselves significantly and substantively supported by significant numbers of Euro-American people, and aging and banged up veteran Earth Firsters, like me! Playing significant mentoring roles with the next generation of activists. We are making great progress, and quite frankly, making history; quite significant players in Sacramento have been brought to the table to engage in discussion with coalition members about ….. tribal co-management, aligning the JDSF management plan to meet need for recreation, carbon sequestration, and water quality for salmonids; thank you everybody, and help us keep the pressure on by contraction your local and state reps...her are some resources for you to help us. https://savejackson.org/

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SPERLING’S MISSING RESTITUTION

In 2013, two men were convicted in the Mendocino County Superior Court of stealing large quantities of copper wiring from Willits Redwood Company. They were stealing the copper and selling it to recycling centers for pennies on the dollar for money to purchase drugs.

One of the men was eventually ordered to pay $18,300 in restitution back to Willits Redwood Company. The legal rate of interest was also ordered, meaning any unpaid principal would grow at a non-compounded rate of 10% per annum.

Defendant Logan Wade Sperling, now age 37, of Belmont, was one of the two men convicted of felony-level copper theft and the man ordered to pay restitution to the victim.

Sperling

Moving ahead to 2020, defendant Sperling contacted an Internet law firm based in Texas to see about having his felony conviction reduced to a misdemeanor and expunged (dismissed) based on Sperling’s alleged full compliance between 2013 and 2018 with all terms and conditions of his now-expired supervised probation.

As part of the legal documents filed by Sperling and his attorneys, a declaration was submitted signed by Sperling under penalty of perjury claiming he had paid all of the restitution in full.

And therein lies the rub. Despite being employed in the Bay Area, Sperling had never paid even a penny towards the restitution, and $1,830 in interest had been added (and is still being added) every year to his outstanding debt.

As of Friday, the restitution debt casting a dark cloud over Sperling’s financial and legal head has grown to $32,940 ($18,300 in principal and $14,640 in interest).

Following a law enforcement investigation, a perjury charge was filed in 2020 by the DA against Sperling and his case was heading for trial this coming Monday.

To avoid that jury trial, defendant Sperling plead guilty Friday afternoon to perjury by declaration, a felony.

From the very beginning, Sperling blamed the law firm for a drafting error in the declaration that he admitted signing under penalty of perjury.

However, Sperling testified at a prior hearing that when he received the declaration from the out-of-state law firm, he simply signed and returned it without reading any of the words in the declaration, including that he was signing under penalty of perjury. He admitted he did not make sure the words attributed to him were true and accurate.

Unfortunately for the defendant, California law is settled that when a person signs a declaration under penalty of perjury, without qualification, that information therein is true, but he or she does not know whether or not the information is in fact true, the making of that declaration is the same as making a declaration that the person knows is false.

The defendant’s case has now been referred to the Adult Probation Department for a background investigation and sentencing recommendation. He will be back in court in June for his sentencing hearing.

The law enforcement agency that investigated this case was the District Attorney’s own Bureau of Investigations.

The attorney handling the prosecution of Sperling is District Attorney David Eyster.

DA Eyster commented late Friday afternoon, “It is extremely important for clients to read and affirmatively approve the language used in all legal documents that are drafted on one’s behalf by law firms.

“When the available evidence is sufficient, my attorneys and I have been – and will continue – to file criminal charges against those who submit false testimony in court proceedings. It doesn’t take a genius to know that lying under oath disrupts the judicial process and puts into question the veracity of legal outcomes.”

(DA Presser)

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Bill Wagner, 1975

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A STOLEN TRUCKLOAD OF TWEEK

On 04/13/2022 at about 12:51 PM, UPD Officers responded to the area of S. Orchard Ave and E. Perkins St. in an attempt to locate a Ford F-150 that had been reported stolen earlier that morning to Ukiah CHP. One of UPD’s recently installed Automatic License Plate Reader (ALPR) cameras had sent an alert to Officers advising the stolen vehicle had been observed minutes earlier being driven in the area.

During the search, UPD Detectives located the vehicle parked and occupied in the parking lot of the Orchard Shopping Center. Additional Officers arrived and a high-risk stop was performed. Three suspects were located in the vehicle and detained.

A search of the vehicle and suspects yielded large amounts of methamphetamine, consistent with possession for sale, as well as a small amount of oxycodone tablets. One of the suspects, Shane Miller, 29, of Ukiah was in possession of a fixed blade knife concealed on his person.

Shane Miller

Through investigation it was determined that Shane Miller picked up the other two occupants in the stolen vehicle earlier that morning. Miller was found to be in possession of approximately 1.6 ounces of methamphetamine in addition to the concealed knife and oxycodone tablets. Emily Christopher, 29, of Ukiah was found to have a misdemeanor warrant for her arrest and was in possession of approximately 1.8 ounces of methamphetamine. 

Emily Christopher

Scott Stone was in possession of a smaller amount of methamphetamine that he claimed to be for personal use that he had been provided earlier by Miller.

Miller and Christopher were booked at the Mendocino County Jail on their respective charges. Stone was issued a citation at the scene for possession of methamphetamine.

The owner of the stolen vehicle responded to the scene and took possession of his vehicle.

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PG&E'S EMPTY WORDS

Editor: 

In the wake of the district attorney's settlement with PG&E, resulting from criminal charges filed for igniting the destructive Kincade fire in 2019, we are left to wonder what is to become of frontline victims, those who lost homes and businesses and everything in them ("PG&E, prosecutors have deal," Tuesday).

Also just announced, PG&E paid its CEO $51.2 million in direct compensation while she continues to pay lip service to victims, saying all will be made right and victims paid for their significant losses. But these are empty words. With its long history of legal maneuvering and delays, and now with the district attorney adding insult to injury by fining PG&E $55 million more to pay to others, not fire victims, PG&E has once again left us with empty promises that it will do right by all those who were affected firsthand.

Craig M. Enyart

Knights Valley

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Joe Kennedy and Gloria Swanson

They had a torrid affair and attempted to make an elaborate epic film together but it all turned to ashes for Gloria. He used to give her expensive gifts but it turned out he was actually charging everything to her own account and when their movie failed, he left her high and dry, holding the bill. As for Kennedy's long suffering wife, Rose, Gloria had this to say; “I don't know which of us is the better actress.”

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COAST HOSPITAL: THE BACK STORY

by Malcolm Macdonald

Failing to disclose expenditure of public funds for legal services appears to be nothing new for some members of the Mendocino Coast Health Care District Board of Directors. Here's the crucial backstory:

In December 2019 California's Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) received a sworn complaint against two members of the Mendocino Coast Health Care District (MCHCD) Board of Directors and its interim Chief Executive Officer. About two weeks later the FPPC wrote to the complainant, stating that the commission would be investigating the allegation(s). At that time the FPPC had made no determination on the complaint. This April 8th I wrote to the FPPC to inquire about the status of the case. On Monday, April 11th, an FPPC official responded that the case is still open.

The complaint has to do with the process leading up to the MCHCD Board of Directors vote to approve the affiliation lease agreement with Adventist Health in November 2019. In the spring of that year a Request for Proposal (RFP) went out for potential suitors in the affiliation process. In April 2019 the MCHCD Board asked its law firm, Best Best & Krieger (BB&K), about potential conflicts of interest in the affiliation process. In an April 25, 2019 document a BB&K attorney set out to solve that problem. Over multiple pages, the attorney presented possible reasons for a conflict of interest issue(s) for MCHCD Directors Jessica Grinberg (then vice chair of the board of directors) and Karen Arnold (then chair). The conclusion offered up by BB&K: “It is possible that at least one board member, Director Grinberg, has a potential conflict of interest if the FPPC considers payments made to her by Adventist [Health] a source of income. Since there is no guidance on this issue, the only way to seek a definitive opinion is from the FPPC.”

The equivocation from the law firm was based on the rather unique situation that, yes, Grinberg's orthotics and prosthetics business did receive funds from Adventist Health (AH), but that money essentially only passed through AH in a brief holding pattern from Medicare to Grinberg. Arnold worked for Mendocino Coast Clinics, a federally funded organization. The BB&K letter also came down squarely in the middle of indecisiveness in Arnold's case. “In addition, in the absence of any knowledge of how the Adventist proposal might impact Director Arnold’s employer’s Clinic, we cannot opine at this juncture that there is an existing conflict for Director Arnold. When a proposal in response to the RFP is received, it may be clear that there is a conflict, or it may not be and FPPC guidance may be appropriate.”

The BB&K conclusion in April 2019: “Given the uncertainty in both cases, it is recommended that management direct district counsel to seek FPPC guidance on behalf of the District so that in the event a proposal from Adventist is forthcoming the District has clear guidance on how to proceed.”

Indeed, Adventist Health turned out to have the only realistic affiliation proposal. In May, the BB&K attorney, Michael Maurer, sought FPPC guidance. Asking the basic question of whether or not Grinberg or Arnold could take part in the MCHCD Board's decision-making on an affiliation agreement with Adventist Health. On June 26, 2019, the FPPC ruled that neither could participate in the affiliation work of the district's board. Though Grinberg had no competition in the business of providing orthotics and prosthetics on the coast or at her Willits office, the FPPC stuck to a strict theoretical interpretation of regulations and denied her participation in the affiliation process, including taking part in a final board vote on affiliation. The FPPC ruled that Ms. Arnold's employer also had a theoretical potential for financial gain or loss with the potential affiliation, thus, she too was denied participation in the affiliation process in a similar manner as Grinberg.

MCHCD Interim Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Wayne Allen issued a statement within a matter of days, which declared in part, “Director Grinberg’s ruling will be appealed as there are several issues of fact that may have been misinterpreted.” It does not appear that an appeal was registered with the FPPC.

What happened next is a bit murky, but what is clear is that in some manner Arnold and Grinberg procured the services of attorney Steve Churchwell, who had previously served as general counsel to the FPPC, to act on their behalf. At an early November MCHCD Board meeting, Karen Arnold announced that she had received advice that she could participate in affiliation matters. No clear and detailed statement was offered on the record from Churchwell. Similarly, by the time the MCHCD Board voted on the proposed affiliation with Adventist Health on November 22, 2019, Jessica Grinberg took a seat with the other four board members with even less said than two weeks earlier by Arnold. Grinberg then took part in the vote on affiliation. Interestingly enough, there doesn't appear to be any documented evidence that states the reasons Churchwell gave for Arnold and Grinberg's return to the MCHCD Board to vote on affiliation.

This is where the December 2019 complaint to the FPPC comes into play. The complainant presents the confusion inherent at the time. “Rather than providing additional information and seeking a re-determination from the FPPC, either the Healthcare District or Directors Arnold or Grinberg sought advice of legal counsel [seemingly Churchwell] who apparently advised them that he disagreed with the FPPC's earlier determination that one or both of them had conflicts of interest. (It is unclear exactly what happened, this is based on oral statements by Chair Arnold and Interim CEO, Wayne Allen, at the November 2019 board meetings.)” 

The complainant goes on to another allegation: “Based on the public statements of Chair Karen Arnold, Interim CEO Wayne Allen, and Board member Amy McColley at the November 22, 2019 special meeting, it appears that Mendocino Coast Healthcare District funds may have been used for the personal legal expenses of Chair Arnold and/or Vice Chair Grinberg concerning their potential conflicts of interest, which could be an improper gift of public funds. Moreover, it appears as if Interim CEO Wayne Allen may have been involved in making the decision that Chair Arnold or Vice Chair Grinberg could reverse course and begin participating in the affiliation decision by potentially coordinating working around the District's legal counsel, Best Best & Krieger, and seeking alternative legal opinions that were not consistent with the FPPC determination that conflicts existed barring the participating of Directors Arnold and Grinberg. This should be investigated to determine if anything improper occurred or if Interim CEO Allen was involved in facilitating or encouraging either Chair Arnold or Vice Chair Grinberg to stop recusing themselves and begin participating in board action concerning affiliation.”

There are so many inconsistencies afoot here. Not in the questions raised by the complainant. First, sources familiar with the events in 2019 have confirmed that the attorney, Churchwell, used by Arnold and Grinberg to justify their participation in the affiliation vote, was paid with MCHCD funds. If District taxpayer money was used then the District (its residents and taxpayers) should have been apprised in a clear open session announcement that a specific amount was spent for Churchwell's services. It appears that did not occur.

While being paid by MCHCD taxpayer funds, Churchwell did not represent the other board members' interests or the District's interest. He only represented Grinberg's and Arnold's interest.

Whatever Churchwell's advice was to Arnold or to Grinberg, it does not appear to be memorialized in any document available to the public who paid for his services. Thus, whomever it may have been making the decision to pay Churchwell for the advice given to Arnold or to Grinberg has some explaining to do to the other MCHCD Board members and to the public. The educated guesses point to Arnold and Grinberg or a possible combination thereof (that may have included the interim CEO) for making this decision, but as stated before the specific decision-making on hiring Churchwell remains murky. That murkiness combined with public funds should have been a red flag for those involved at the time. 

In one sense the problem was recognized soon thereafter. The minutes for the December 11, 2019 MCHCD Board meeting reflect this statement from board member John Redding: “When the issue of conflict of interest [regarding Grinberg and Arnold] with respect to affiliation first arose, it was deemed that BB&K, our legal counsel, was insufficient and that the final arbiter should be the FPPC. The FPPC's guidance, in fact, was followed for several months. I just want to be clear. It appears that now legal advice is indeed sufficient to rule on a matter of conflict of interest and not the FPPC, because the FPPC was not consulted this time. So I just want to know what is our policy, what is our process, what is our standard, and if legal advice is sufficient, and not the FPPC, then I would like to see a policy where Board members should be given a copy of that letter so we can judge the contents for ourselves and deliberate on that.” 

The quote is from the minutes of the meeting, not Redding's exact words. However, it means that the advice given by the attorney Arnold and Grinberg procured for themselves at district expense was never shared with the district's other elected representatives on the board let alone the public. In plain terms, it appears that Arnold and Grinberg used their positions as chair and vice chair to authorize expenditure of district funds for an attorney who did not represent the district or even the other board members. It seems they hired this attorney to represent their own interests. Though the money was seemingly paid to the attorney, there does not appear to be any record that the full board ever approved the expense.

* Readers should be aware that current chair Norman deVall and secretary Sara Spring were not MCHCD Board members at the time of the events described herein.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, April 17, 2022

Abbott, Dishman, Figueroa, Guerrero

EDWARD ABBOTT, Petaluma. DUI.

LEWIS DISHMAN, Ukiah. Controlled substance, pot sales, conspiracy, probation revocation.

MAURICIO FIGUEROA, Boonville. DUI.

SHAYLA GUERRERO, Ukiah. Controlled substance, pot sales, conspiracy, probation revocation.

Leon, Morris, Navarrete, Nukkanen

LEVI LEON, Willits. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, failure to appear.

CODY MORRIS, Onalaska, Wisconsin/Ukiah. DUI, loaded handgun not registered owner, controlled substance while armed with loaded firearm.

RANDY NAVARRETE, Berkeley/Ukiah. DUI.

ANGELA NUKKANEN, Fort Bragg. Elder abuse, resisting.

Oneal, Ortega, Trejo

PRESTON ONEAL, Ukiah. DUI.

DAVID ORTEGA, Ukiah. Concealed dirk-dagger, failure to appear.

ANGELISA TREJO, Ukiah. DUI, no license, corporal injury to spouse by strangulation or suffocation.

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CHOMSKY ON GLOBAL RESPONSE TO UKRAINE

"It's interesting to look at the reaction to all of this in the more civilized part of the world, the Global South...They look at it; they condemn the invasion, say it's a horrible crime. But the basic response is: What's new? What's the fuss about? We've been subjected to this from you from as far back as it goes. Biden calls Putin a war criminal; yeah, takes one to know one.

The United States doesn't understand why most of the world doesn't join in sanctions, Chomsky said. "Which countries join in sanctions? Take a look. The map is revealing. The English-speaking countries, Europe, and those who apartheid South Africa called honorary whites: Japan, with a couple of its former colonies. That's it. The rest of the world says: Yeah, terrible, but what's new? What's the fuss about? Why should we get involved in your hypocrisy?”

commondreams.org/news/2022/04/15/chomsky-global-response-biden-calling-putin-war-criminal-takes-one-know-one

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(2010)

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‘CRUSHING DISSENT’ with George Galloway, Chris Hedges, Scott Ritter and Jill Stein

It may be worse than McCarthyism, which was defeated by its own excesses. Today’s information war against individuals and media who do not adhere to the Western-government-enforced narrative on Ukraine is part of a long history in the U.S. of officially crushing dissent. With the advances of technology for both surveillance and censorship, we might be in the most chilling atmosphere yet for thought control. Will it too be brought down by its own excesses? …

consortiumnews.com/2022/04/14/watch-cn-live-crushing-dissent-with-george-galloway-chris-hedges-scott-ritter-and-jill-stein/

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ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY

Nothing is inevitable. The future hasn’t happened yet. A more accurate description of our fate is to derive a probability of a particular future occurring based on many assumptions. And who is to say a given probability is accurate? Animals know this inherently – they aren’t concerned about anything except what’s happening at the moment. It’s Man who has been cursed with knowledge that a future exists. But sadly, we don’t use this knowledge to take appropriate actions.

IN 2006 A HIGH SCHOOL ENGLISH TEACHER asked students to write a famous author and ask for advice. Kurt Vonnegut was the only one to respond - and his response was magnificent:

“Dear Xavier High School, and Ms. Lockwood, and Messrs Perin, McFeely, Batten, Maurer and Congiusta:

I thank you for your friendly letters. You sure know how to cheer up a really old geezer (84) in his sunset years. I don’t make public appearances any more because I now resemble nothing so much as an iguana.

What I had to say to you, moreover, would not take long, to wit: Practice any art, music, singing, dancing, acting, drawing, painting, sculpting, poetry, fiction, essays, reportage, no matter how well or badly, not to get money and fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what’s inside you, to make your soul grow.

Seriously! I mean starting right now, do art and do it for the rest of your lives. Draw a funny or nice picture of Ms. Lockwood, and give it to her. Dance home after school, and sing in the shower and on and on. Make a face in your mashed potatoes. Pretend you’re Count Dracula.

Here’s an assignment for tonight, and I hope Ms. Lockwood will flunk you if you don’t do it: Write a six line poem, about anything, but rhymed. No fair tennis without a net. Make it as good as you possibly can. But don’t tell anybody what you’re doing. Don’t show it or recite it to anybody, not even your girlfriend or parents or whatever, or Ms. Lockwood. OK?

Tear it up into teeny-weeny pieces, and discard them into widely separated trash recepticles. You will find that you have already been gloriously rewarded for your poem. You have experienced becoming, learned a lot more about what’s inside you, and you have made your soul grow.

God bless you all!”

Kurt Vonnegut

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OUR FRIEND THE POET

by Tommy Wayne Kramer

Poetry, exhausted by the heavy burdens of sensitive emotions conjured up by dreamy sentimentalists, today is mostly found on dusty shelves in old libraries, none of which are in Ukiah.

The poems of today are generally the byproduct of overactive imaginations from practitioners who believe the stuff ought be clouded in heart-felt images of near-mystic visions of a (benign) natural world in perpetual struggle with the forces of humanity. These ingredients are commonly mingled with fragile images of dawn, moons, sunsets and sad puddles reflecting gray images of something or other.

No wonder the art is dying, and perhaps suicidal. No one reads a 21st century poet of course, and no one would openly brag of being a professional poet except to avoid admitting being unemployable. 

With that as an introduction, ladies and gentlemen it is my honor to present to you Mark McGovern, a Ukiahan I’ve encountered several times among groups of readers. He writes honest-to-Philip Larkin verse and may not even be afraid to call himself a poet. 

McGovern’s work is quirky and plain, thoughtful and honest without pretension, and so of course his work must be self-published. I have his latest books, ‘Loose Dogs on the Freeway,’ and ‘BOOM and Other Loud Noises.’ 

McGovern and I see one another at Writers Read, a collection of locals who gather monthly to read and be read to, loosely organized but efficiently run, by Michael Riedell and Dan Barth. 

Participants read six minutes, max, and most fill the time with amusing or confusing or delightful material, in direct contradiction to my usual broad-brush ridicule (see above) which either means local poets are pretty good or I’m flat-out wrong. Or both. Writers Read sometimes features out-of-town poets as headliners, and occasional local stars, which is where Mr. McGovern fits in. 

It was Mark’s first turn at the top and he was warmly received. He’s an endearing but unpolished performer, doesn’t wear Italian loafers or a pencil-thin mustache like most poets, but if his books start to sell maybe he will.

It’s difficult to review poetry; extracting a few lines from verse often does violence to the essence of what makes a poem work, but how else convey its spark or insight?

Here, a pair from ‘Loose Dogs’ chosen in part because they’re short, but also because they invite a glimpse into McGovern’s sly wit:

Slip Of The Tongue

When in Idle 

Conversation

I blurted out I Love You

Not news to you or me

As we have spent 

A lifetime together

Nevertheless

It wouldn’t kill you

To acknowledge

You heard me

And another:

Worms

Complicated is my situation

Convoluted is my plight

To twist and turn and curl

And coil into helix shapes

Curlicues intricate in their 

Geometric delineation

They whorl, twirl, loop and

Spiral until I concede they

Know exactly how I feel

Still no one has yet to offer

To help me untangle these

Christmas lights

For a copy of 'BOOM and Other Loud Noises' and/or ‘Loose Dogs on the Freeway’ look no further than Mendocino Book Co. in Ukiah. Happy reading. 

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Monet’s Garden

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THE HIGH COST OF CALIFORNIA HOUSING

by Nancy MacLeod

Most people are aware of the shortage of affordable housing in Calif - but all we hear as a solution is "build more affordable housing!" We never hear anything about the immoral way our real estate agents and landowners behave - they are following that horrible mandate of US Corporations to "make as much money as you possibly can, regardless of who it hurts, whether the environment or people."

Something definitely needs to be done about housing prices in Calif. Investors, many foreign, rarely local, are bidding up houses and apartments so high that it is impossible for "normal" people to buy or even rent. Tripling rents is common now. This author lived in Oakland for 34 years, been in Mendocino Co. now 18 years, and have family in L.A. and Redlands - so I know: it's happening up and down the state! The daughter of friends was out-bid on 70 houses in the East-Bay - she and her husband, in their early 30’s, are both doctors with good jobs. They've been looking for a year and a half, and can find nothing! The house I lived in for 30 years just sold for almost 3 million dollars - more than a million over asking price - and it's a medium sized house on a very small lot in the flats of north Oakland - it's absolutely obscene!

Bidding wars should be made ILLEGAL. The first person who qualifies for the asking price should be the one to get it - and part of qualifying needs to be that the buyer is going to live in the house, or rent it out for a fair price, to someone who will be living in it — and certainly not Air B'n'B-ing it.

Los Angeles is so expensive, a lot of people are moving to Redlands, a very pretty town less than an hour south of L.A. that until recently was fairly affordable. My daughter has a friend there whose apartment building was recently bought by a foreign investor, and they are tripling the rents! My sister, who has lived there for more than 30 years, says there is no way her two kids will ever be able to live there, buying or renting. My daughter, in her 20's, lives in a house owned by a Taiwanese corporation that has never seen the house, they just bought up houses cheaply in the LA area after the 2008 debacle. She pays $1,000/month for one small room, her 2 roommates pay more for their rooms as they are a trifle bigger. And corporations are buying up trailer parks all over and jacking up the rents so even that previously inexpensive way to live is becoming difficult to afford! My niece and her boyfriend live in a trailer, all they can afford in the "Inland Empire" area. They grew up in Redlands, have to live half an hour by freeway away, and the cost to rent a space for the trailer keeps going up.

The only solution is not just to build more "low income housing”! How "low" will it be? Building materials are at an all time high! We need to manage the housing we already have better! Pass legislation not allowing investors to raise rents more than a small percentage/sit on houses/turn them into air B n B's. I expect many people know about all the empty houses in Oakland, as well as other cities, including here in Anderson Valley. If we have to, we should nationalize all the housing. Or the state could take over empty houses..something must be done. 

With the Governor signing into law SB9 and SB10, an investor can tear out the existing house on a property and put in a 4 unit (or even more!) building, filling up the entire lot so there is no room for any sort of garden. This is not at all ecologically sound- our landfill is already a huge problem! - much better to use the existing house - make it 2 stories if it's only one, one unit upstairs, one down; and build a new little 2-unit granny flat in back, and have it be sensitively done; of true quality so that the neighborhood is still a lovely place to live. It is not right to lose all sense of grace and beauty, and destroy the history of a neighborhood, just because we need more low income housing. 

I lived in Oakland in the late '60's/early '70's when investors were buying up beautiful old extremely well made houses, selling them to the City for a nice profit, who then tore them down and built poor quality "low income housing", filling the entire lot with a hideous structure, paving over the front yard for parking. Within a matter of months those places looked derelict because they were so poorly designed and constructed with cheap materials. I know because I lived in one of those beautiful old houses, and was evicted so they could tear it down and build their wretched units. I had 2 friends the same thing happened to. All of those original houses were high quality craftsmen homes, and could easily have been turned into 2 or 3 gracious units. Then RCPC [Rockridge Community Planning Council] got going and stopped it. That's how I got my house in Rockridge.

The landlord/investor had bought up all these houses in the N. Oakland area; now he could no longer tear them out and put in the high rise he planned; knowing me from my having lived in 2 of his other tear-downs, he basically dumped this little house in my lap. RCPC had studied neighborhoods all over the country and put together guidelines for what makes a neighborhood a nice place to live. It's no accident that Rockridge in Oakland is such a coveted neighborhood. Other neighborhoods by BART stations don't command the [ridiculously high] prices that RR does. When I moved in, College Ave was a dump, as was the flat-lands around it. When Hwy 24 was built, everyone who could afford to, left Oakland. My neighbors told me what it was like- "You never knew when you got home from school if your house was going to be condemned or not; if you would be forced to move, or your friends. The plants were covered with so much dust that if you didn't wash them off every day, they died!" Even by the time I moved there, after the freeway was built, College Ave. had many vacant lots. (I remember 2 of them had cement boats being built on them!) 

The storefronts that were left were grubby and trashy, with broken venetian blinds in them, paint peeling, very run-down, just like most all neighborhoods in Oakland then. I was a student at Calif College of Arts & Crafts at that time, and lived in neighborhoods all around the school. The houses above College Ave. were still pretty nice, and RCPC was born to ameliorate the decay. In the flats, we fixed up our gardens - cheap to do - and started making the neighborhood look nice again. I was one of the first to do it. Later, when I had some money, I added a 2nd story to the house, and made it really nice. I lived there 30 years. 

We sold our house nearly 20 years ago, and the people who bought it recently turned a portion of the downstairs into an ADU, and the next-door neighbors added a 2nd unit as a 2nd floor. Both of them look beautiful, keeping the lovely integrity of the neighborhood intact. A couple of additional units could even still be worked into them, and not detract from the quality of living in them. Adding units does NOT have to done in a way that destroys the beauty of a home or neighborhood! Good design is essential! Trees are essential!

Building more houses is something the building industry wants. 

Another serious consideration is: DO WE HAVE THE WATER? Many places are already on water restriction, yet they are building new houses near by! Is this sensible, let alone fair? The census says we have less people; we lost at least one seat in the House! But we have more homeless than ever! All the "affordable" housing in Oakland and Berkeley is a joke! What will it be like up here in Mendocino County? What rich legislators think is affordable, is NOT affordable to the people who are couch surfing or having to live in shelters, let alone those relegated to the streets!! It used to be that 1/4 of your income was considered fair. (Even Donald Trump, in the '80's said "the only criteria for renters is that the rent not exceed 1/4 of their income.") Anything higher was considered usury!! Now it is 1/3 to 1/2 of one's income. Try living on even $15.00 an hour, which is tossed around as if it's so much money! - How can a single person live on that, let alone a family?

This situation certainly contributes to the high rate of depression we have in this country, and is absolutely unconscionable!

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HAPPY EASTER, or whatever

by Matt Taibbi

I’m the last in a long line of Catholics. Both parents were Catholic school products, from different paths: my mother, from a traditional Irish-Catholic family, my father a Hawaiian-born Filipino, adopted by New York Italians. 

They were forced to learn about the baby Jesus in an era when walking out of church wasn’t allowed. My generation was the first to grow up with a post-religious option, which I exercised in fairly dramatic fashion, getting thrown out of CCD as a pre-teen (that’s Catholic education to the lucky uninitiated). I made it to confession but not confirmation. For a long time, the only thing I really ever knew about Easter was it was the subject of my father’s best joke. 

The Pope dies, so the Cardinals invite candidates to Rome for a religion test. They ask three priests — in my father’s telling I think each was from a different country, giving him a chance to pull out Irish, Italian, and Polish accents — to answer one question, “What’s Easter?”

Father Patrick the Irishman knows this one! He nods and says, “Easter, that’s the one where the family sits around a tree opening presents…” The Cardinals, furious, toss him out of Rome. Father Luigi describes a big cookout, fireworks, and everyone waving the Stars and Stripes. Gone! The Cardinals are down to their last candidate, Father Jakub the Pole.

“Easter,” Jakub begins. “That’s the day Christ dies on the cross, taking on all the sins of the world.” The Cardinals are thrilled. What next? “He loved all the world so much, he sacrificed his own life, so that we all may live forever…” Perfect! Then what? “They put him in a cave, where he stays for three days.” Yes, yes, then? “They roll away the stone…” And?

“And if he sees his shadow, he goes back inside, and it’s six more weeks of winter. If he doesn’t, winter ends early…”

I’m still no Catholic, but as my beautiful little children run around the house this morning, I don’t feel quite so sarcastic about it all. Family and love, at least, really are forever. Grandpa is coming in a few hours. Maybe he’ll tell the boys a joke. 

Happy Easter, everyone. Or whatever. Thank you for everything, and may you all find something to smile about, today and every other day.

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POSTMODERN NEWS

What's Up Next in Postmodern America?

Sitting here in the common area of the Building Bridges homeless shelter in Ukiah, California on a sunny day, ignoring the bizarre consumer products all around town, which have nothing at all to do with the ascension of Jesus Christ. I wish the pagan goddess Eostar well. I hope that your writing a wish on a fertilized egg and burying it, ensuring that the energy which would otherwise produce a chick instead brings you what you want (the Chinese farmer practice, which upon their immigration to north America, became a part of the absurd Easter spectacle, i.e. coloring eggs). I have no idea what the bunny has to do with anything insofar as the Christian religion is concerned. The next time that you view the moon, why not ask the rabbit? 

Meanwhile, I am not identifying with the body. I am not identifying with the mind. I am identified with that which is "prior to consciousness". Regarding intervening in history on earth, what would you like to do? Obviously, I can move on from the homeless shelter in Haiku spelled backwards. I'm ready!

[later…]

Good morning postmodern America,  It is 4 a.m., the "hour of Brahman", and almost everybody is asleep at the homeless shelter here in the Mendocino county seat of Ukiah.  Sitting at the computer in the common area, mind is happy and free.  We are Jivan Muktas all!  Identified with that which is prior to consciousness, and not attached to the body nor the mind, we make up our own rules.  This is divine anarchy.  Totally free.  Like the geese in the sky, we go where we need to go and we do what we need to do.  We leave no trace.  I am able to leave Haiku spelled backwards at any time. When would you like to assemble a spiritual direct action group for the purpose of destroying the demonic and intervening in history?  I am ready.

Craig Louis Stehr

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THIS JUST IN

Editor,

More bad news from the incompetent Mendocino County Cannabis Program (MCCP).

If you submitted a county application to the county's 30-day corrections portal (opens on March 28, 2022 & Closes on April 28, 2022), please know that the county is not issuing local authorizations to the state, if you have a deficiency with the state that is outstanding as of May 1, 2022. 

From the State of California, Department of Cannabis Control (DCC): Based on the email communications from the county it sounds like they "will not be able to provide local authorization to applications that are incomplete”. If the county is not willing to give the go ahead with your project at this time, then the state "cannot issue a license.”

Seems a bit negligent that MCCP can deny local authorization without issuing denial letters first. But shouldn’t all applications (including those in the second-round portal) be reviewed for completeness first before denying local authorization?

And what happens if the county application is deemed complete but not until after the DCC deadline? All the work the applicants have done to maintain and renew provisional licenses will now be disqualified, pushing more farmers out of the legal market.

Time to write the Board of Supervisors! If you are having this problem, let me them know!

Link to the corrections portal: https://www.mendocinocounty.org/government/cannabis-cultivation/cannabis-application-portal-system

John Sakowicz

Ukiah

15 Comments

  1. Eric Sunswheat April 18, 2022

    April 17, 2022
    More than a year after it was authorized in the U.S., the COVID-19 shot developed by Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) appears to prevent infections, hospitalizations, and deaths at least as well as the rival vaccines from Pfizer (PFE)/BioNTech (BNTX) and Moderna (MRNA)…

    Even among those who received booster shots, the Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) vaccine outperformed its rivals in cutting the infections, the data published on April 15 indicate.

    In terms of preventing COVID-related mortality, J&J (JNJ) shot has performed on par with mRNA-based shots from rivals as of data on February 26.
    https://seekingalpha.com/news/3823676-johnson-johnson-covid-19-shot-holds-its-ground-amid-breakthrough-cases

    • Bruce Anderson April 18, 2022

      Relevance?

        • Bruce Anderson April 18, 2022

          Who, but a natural born serf, could possibly care?

          • Marmon April 18, 2022

            I’m just attempting to add some meaningful content to today’s MCT

            Marmon

            • Bruce Anderson April 18, 2022

              You failed.

            • Marshall Newman April 18, 2022

              That is his personal business and his personal prerogative.

        • Gary Smith April 19, 2022

          He is Jesus Christ returned to earth. The affluent are, self evidently, loved by God. Who does God love the most? Jesus, that’s who.

    • Chuck Wilcher April 18, 2022

      I’ll take a wild guess that Elon isn’t sleeping on someone’s couch.

    • George Hollister April 18, 2022

      A good book to read is the “Jewish Century”, by Yuri Slezkine. One of his points is that wealth is no longer measured in land, or resource ownership. Musk must be following the course.

  2. Marshall Newman April 18, 2022

    Based on “Yesterday’s Catch” (a favorite daily element and one that should be emulated by newspapers across the country), DUI will get one arrested in Mendocino County.

  3. Nathan Duffy April 18, 2022

    RE; David Muir. Somehow he can’t get my goat like that BUT for Scott Simon and Neil Conan its 0-100 ULTRA-VI immediately.

  4. chuck dunbar April 18, 2022

    TRYING FOR MEANINGFUL CONTENT

    These words from a song are for the various old men who post comments at this site (that of course includes me). I find them intriguing, and truer than I might like, as I look back at my life:

    “Let the old men laugh, let the old men say
    That I’ve never done nothing that wasn’t out of love, baby
    Now the weight that you carry seems such a heavy load
    While you’re
    Face down in the moment waiting to let go”

    From the song: “Facedown in the Moment”
    Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats

  5. Bruce McEwen April 18, 2022

    The comment page seems to have mired in the spring mud. Let us pray for a thaw in the Donbas so the Ruskie armored divisions will do the same.

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