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Mendocino County Today: Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Warming | Runaways Found | Iris Barn | Bid Walk | School Tours | Simson Kudo | Mural Celebration | Unity Club | Housecleaners | Fundraiser Success | Palace Memory | Friendly Visit | Candidates Night | Neily Case | Art Show | Chambers Upgrades | Navarro Rental | Potemkin Economy | Surveying Jobs | Goose View | Not West | Curator Position | Ukraine | Fitness Class | Case Tossed | Inclusive Society | EIR Sham | Kimberlin Book | Ed Notes | Yesterday's Catch | Supreme Leak | Culture War | Overturning Roe | Art Walk | Precious Water | Workshop Series | Parent Rights | Fuente Friend | McChesney Update | Caspar Mill | College Theatre | Joe Jolting | Debt Shaming | Un Robot | Catch 2022 | Crime Scene | Dem Deer | Buddha Disciples

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FROST ADVISORY remains in effect until 9 am PDT Tuesday.

AFTER A COOL START this morning, temperatures will rebound into the 70s and 80s this afternoon and Wednesday afternoon across the interior. Temperatures will return to near to slightly below normal by Thursday. Rain will return on Thursday and continue into the weekend, mainly north of Cape Mendocino. (NWS)

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Two Mendocino County 13-year-olds from the coastal town of Point Arena have been located and reunited with family four days after running away, according to a post on the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page. The pair were reportedly found after they were sighted in Cupertino, California, 170 miles from where they started.

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(photo by Kim Slotte)

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Here we go! We had our required bid walk for our first phase of construction to replace the ancient HVAC on a portion of the original high school roof. Anderson Valley Jr./Sr. High School, under the experienced watch of architect Don Alameida, hosted construction firm personnel interested in bidding on the replacement HVAC work for the aging units on the high school science wings. Work includes replacing the electrical panel, HVAC units, and applicable portions of the roof. The construction is earmarked to be paid for by Federal ESSER funds and is intended to supplement anticipated scope of Measure M work. Bids are expected mid-May. 

It was a windy day on the roof, but a GOOD ONE!

Louise Simson, Superintendent, Anderson Valley Unified School District, Cell: 707-684-1017

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Measure M school tours scheduled:

If you would like to tour the school sites and look at the current needs of the properties, please join a school tour. Dates are as follows:

High School, Thursday, May 12 at 4:30 PM Architect Don Alameida will be present for this tour.

Elementary School, Thursday, May 19 at 4:30 PM--Hosted by Louise Simson

Free yard signs are available upon request. Stop by at the district office to pick one up. The signs were not paid for with district funding.

We hope to see you at a tour!

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HERE’S as good a place as any to say that in my opinion Ms. Simson is the best local superintendent of schools I’ve seen, and I go back to Mel “Boom Boom” Baker 50 years ago. We’ve been blessed with a number of capable supers, certainly, but none who have brought the energy, clarity and all-round leadership this lady has brought to a very difficult task in a very difficult time. Ask her a question and back comes the answer, pronto. And name another school leader anywhere in the county who publishes regular letters to parents and the wider community. As Ms. Simson assumes the dual jobs of both superintendent and high school principal she seems undaunted not only by the added responsibility but the fiscal difficulties presented by declining enrollment and two physical plants that need serious work. The Anderson Valley has a real jewel in this lady.

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Come celebrate the block-long local history mural in downtown Ukiah! Artist Lauren Sinnott painted it over the last 4 years, through fires and the pandemic. The mural is made up of 26 panels, each a mural in itself, illustrating the history of our region. There are over 200 portraits - come see if you recognize anyone!

5-8pm at the mural, on the north wall of Ukiah Valley Conference Center at 200 S. School St. Church St. between Oak and School will be closed to cars and open for fun. Light snacks and honey lemonade provided, as well as a treasure hunt to locate subjects and portraits. Wine and beer courtesy of Frey Vineyards, Fetzer Vineyards, Ukiah Brewing Company. Local band Easy Street will play, weather permitting. Remarks 5:30 - 6pm

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by Miriam Martinez

How wonderful indeed it is to have our Annual Wildflower Show back. Thank you, everyone who donated time, plants, prizes, expertise and elbow grease. The student art show was delightful. Thanks also to the ladies who made the tea room such a pleasant experience.

Come to our May 5th A.V. Unity Club meeting to hear the report on the Wildflower Show. The meeting will be held at 1:30 in the Home Arts Building (Library) and the Program will be our Funny Money Auction. Bring your Funny money from this year and last year. Come early and get an infusion of Funny money to make the Auction more exciting. If you have some items to donate, bring them along too. The bidding gets fast and furious when it comes to plants.

We successfully elected our new slate of officers for the 2022-2024 term, at the April meeting. Here are our officers:

President: Mary Ann Grezenda

Vice Pres: Val Muchowski

Vice Pres: Grace Espinoza

Treasurer: Jean Condon

Secretary: Ellen Fontaine

Thanks for your faithful service go out to Janet, Ann and Cindy for your excellence during dark hours. Y'all will pass your respective hats at the June 2nd installation meeting.

Some of us are still tardy with our dues. Its only $28 for a year, which includes our National Federation of Women’s Organizations dues. Be powerful; pay your dues by mail, A.V. Unity Club, attn: Jean Condon, P.O. Box 563, Boonville, CA 95415. You may also bring your dues to the May 5th meeting.

Graduation is coming soon. Thank you Scholarship Board for pouring over the applications and narrowing down to the potential recipients. These scholarships make it possible for our graduates to take that next step in life.

Enjoy all the excitement of the Funny Money Auction following the brief business meeting on the 5th of May at the Fairgrounds in the Home Arts Building, at 1:30.

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Meredith Smith reporting: I know one cash box/ticket total but the silent auction has yet to be totaled. The box held $12000 tickets for mostly Food and Wine sales but some "store" sales too like plants. It was all a zero sum (meaning no one got paid back or paid to work out of the proceeds) non-profit financial transaction which is getting split between Rotary on the German Border (apparently a local Rotarian and her/his mate are running food and supplies across the border on back roads into the country and spiriting refugees out and offering them refuge/support/security) and the organization with which Mary Rose and I have been networking, Nova Ukraine. They have successfully shipped tons of medical and emergency aid supplies to Ukraine. The have gotten huge; they erupted out of Silicone Valley/Bay Area, mobilized successfully down the Coast; Rotary on the border has the advantage of knowing the roads and getting supplies directly from all over Europe. Plus, these Rotarians are Related to ours and can be communicated with directly as we move into the future. 

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by Jody Martinez

This week brought news from the city of Ukiah about a potential buyer for the long-vacant Palace Hotel in downtown Ukiah, which has stood empty now for more than three decades.

I have long hoped the Palace would someday be restored to its former glory, but in recent years I’ve felt myself gradually moving closer to those in the “I’ll-believe-it-when-I-see-it” camp.

I was only in the Palace Hotel one time before it closed. Shortly after moving to Ukiah in the late 1980s, my husband and I had dinner at the Palace Hotel restaurant, which we entered through a door on Smith Street. It was a lovely evening, and I think the food was good too, but we had no idea that the restaurant – and the entire building – would soon be shuttered. Had we had any inkling of that, we likely would have lingered a bit longer – perhaps for a drink in the hotel bar, or a stroll around the premises at least.

Looking back through Ukiah history, one small Palace Hotel item from the 1940s makes me smile, and likely was a source of amusement for local residents back then too. It was a rough time – they were in the middle of World War II, with loved ones fighting far from home and shortages of all sorts of items on the home front. Communities were conducting war bond drives to help finance the war, and Californians were debating whether the old-age pension should be increased from $40 to $50 a month, or perhaps a bit more. 

A canine resident checks out the Palace Hotel Dog Bar to see what’s on tap. Fortunately for the dogs, it was water. The Palace Hotel’s Dog Bar was on the School Street side of the hotel in downtown Ukiah. (photo courtesy of Ed Bold)

(Ukiah Daily Journal)

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The New AV Village Friendly Visits Program!

We are excited to offer this new opportunity to our Members and Volunteers! With the guidance and expertise of Susan Bridge-Mount, LMFT we introduce the AV Village Friendly Visits Program (FVP). This new program enriches our existing “friendly visits” offered to members by offering more in depth and supported experience for both the Member and Volunteer. This program is nationally recognized and the focus is on creating a mutually rewarding friendship between two people. The purpose of the FVP is to provide social interaction with an elder (AVV Member) who has become socially isolated and/or verbalizing feelings of depression. Volunteers engage the member with any appropriate activity that is mutually agreed upon. They can take a walk, play cards, watch a movie, discuss current events or have a meal at the senior center. Meetings are generally held weekly for an hour. Redwood Coast Senior Center has successfully been running this program for approximately 10 years.

The volunteer responds to the idea that this service is important and that caring attention will make a difference to the member. The member generally does not want another formal, professional expert, but a friend. Someone who offers respite from daily problems, cares on a personal level and offers companionship under the prescribed guidelines of the FVP.

This is a wonderful opportunity to deepen our community bonds and support our more isolated members! A 3-hour orientation is provided to the perspective volunteers. The training covers explanation of the program and the expectations, boundaries and confidentiality, Mandated Reporting and response to emergency situations. The COVID vaccination is required for both the volunteer and member.

Please contact the coordinator if you are interested in this unique experience, either as a volunteer or a receiver of these services - thank you!

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I hope everything is well with you. I was wondering if you would be interested in writing a followup story about dad's remains being identified? I'm sorry this is so long.

His remains were found off Branscomb Road, May 7, 2020. They were identified in Oct 2021. Which already put us behind to file a wrongful death lawsuit. I found out Nov 11, 2021 from one of my older half brothers. Then I called the Mendocino County Sheriffs, for more details.

The Press Release the Sheriffs sent out has discrepancies (see below).

May 7, 2022 is my deadline to file a wrongful death lawsuit but I can't find a lawyer to help me. I've been declined by three law firms. I would even be happy to have his case files subpoenaed. But I can't find a lawyer or even an investigative reporter. A few PIs said they would help but charge 10,000-25,000.

A lot of this info you already know. He went missing in 2006. Last seen by Ron Baumeister (now deceased) on James DeNoyer’s Westport property.

But at that time the Sheriffs (Det. Crabb) emailed me and said “I am not going to make any attempts at contacting the property owner, James DeNoyer. From past experience with him, I know he will not cooperate the least bit.”

Then his case or Cavanaugh's will never be solved!

Yet, DeNoyer, owned the property our dad was last seen in 2006. And where his two vehicles & his dog “Justice” were found by my brother Ryan.

As you know, DeNoyer is the nephew of Donald Cavanaugh who went missing in 2005. There is a connection. And there is a reason the Sheriffs refuse to go after DeNoyer, who now lives in Placer County. Two missing men (one deceased), same POI = serial killer!

This has been a nightmare with MCSD since dad went missing. So many questions are not answered, still. If we didn't have the last name of someone to interview, they wouldn't interview. All the neighbors to interview live off one street from DeNoyer. What about knocking on each door?!?! They kept asking us the same questions over and over. I also want MCSD to be investigated, because I am not the only family with a case they have botched or wanted to cover up for whatever reason.

And the other families are willing to help me. I also have others who know what DeNoyer is capable of, including my brother Ryan. If only they would have listened to him. Because I think it's much bigger!

I can prove via emails, missing person report, press release about remains, dental records, when DNA (from Ryan & I) was donated, coroner's report etc. that the MCSD is not on the up & up. Because info. and dates don’t match up.


1. The Missing Person Report was filed by my brother Ryan (I have a copy) on May 24, 2006. Press Release about dad's remains being identified says the Missing Person Report was filed on July 24, 2006. Shouldn't those dates match? But "24" is the same?

2. A Search Warrant was executed on Westport property, July 26, 2006. Dad's two vehicles, my brother located, (not the Sheriffs), were towed away. Ryan located dad's dog "Justice" there too. If the Press Release is correct, that's two days after the Missing Person Report filed?!?! Dates don't match up.

3. I've asked several times over the years for an inventory of both cars and have never been given one. His vehicles were released to our oldest half brother. Another botch up.

4. Press Release says remains were located 3.5 miles Westport property. NOT true. It is 10 miles. I have the coordinates from the coroner's report.

5. It's more believable dad would walk 3.5 miles than 10 miles. Which is what the Sheriffs want everyone to believe.

6. DeNoyer also had a pasture of horses in Branscomb (another connection). Branscomb Rd. is where dad's remains were located, according to the Press Release. Maybe Cavanaugh's body is there too!

7. Remains located May 7, 2020 but not identified until Oct 2021? Why did it take so long when the Sheriffs had dental records July 25, 2006 (I have a copy). Why weren't they requested closer to the date of the Missing Person Report May 24, 2006? DNA from Ryan & I were entered in CODIS 2008. Why didn't they ask my two half brothers for DNA when they visited the Sheriffs in 2006?

8. Dad wasn't last seen in Albion. That is where he lived. He was last seen by Ron Baumeister on DeNoyer's Westport property. Who lied to my brother about where dad was. But now Baumeister is deceased.

9. Sheriffs promised me a copy of the Press Release but I never got it before it was mass distributed to media outlets.

They won’t talk to me because I’m not the eldest sibling. That has been their excuse from day one. I’m trying to find out what happened to dad? Get attention on his case that is still open.

But can not trust the Sheriffs. Because he didn’t just walk off, especially without his dog.

My theory is he was shot on the Westport property because gunshots were heard by neighbors. Then he was moved to Branscomb Rd. Because when they searched DeNoyer's property in 2006, they claim nothing was indicated by the cadaver dogs. Was a metal detector used? And because dad would never just walk off 10 miles (the correct distance) and leave his dog!

Ryan also took care of his horses in Westport and worked for DeNoyer in construction on a retreat for John Gray of "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus". Gray testified in the horse abuse trial of DeNoyer. He only got a slap on the hand in the horse abuse trial. And his brother bought back some of the horses. And my brother Ryan, was never called to testify. Another botch up!

I have dad’s ashes from my oldest half brother. But I’m not convinced they are his. I wanted his remains to be tested from a different lab for a second opinion (to confirm no signs of trauma) but because of the law his remains got cremated because our oldest half brother chose to, without giving all the siblings a say. Yet the Sheriffs will only listen to him. His ashes can still be tested for DNA, then paternity.

MCSD only talk to the eldest but Ryan & I were the closest to dad. I even have the pink slips to his cars (which were released to the eldest by the Sheriffs), letters he wrote to me over the years, cards, drawings he gave to me, a 1950 Pontiac Sedan Delivery (a gift to me), some of his personal belongings, because he knew they would be safe with me.

Again, sorry this is so long. I am just desperate for help. Even if I can't file a wrongful death lawsuit (because of the deadline), we want JUSTICE, like the name of dad's dog. And to get attention on his still, unsolved cold case.

Thanks for your time & take care, 

Lisa M. Neily 

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Remains Found in Remote California Forest Belong to Man Missing for 15 Years

by Katie Wermus (Nov. 2021)

Human remains found in a remote Northern California forest last year have been identified as a man reported missing for more than 15 years, according to the Associated Press.

David Neily was 69 years old when he was last seen by family members in the coastal town of Albion in March 2006, the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office said in a statement Saturday.

Neily went missing after he went to pick up his car from a horse farm owned by James DeNoyer. DeNoyer accused Neily of tipping off authorities about poor conditions. DeNoyer was charged with 36 counts of animal cruelty after 36 emaciated horses were removed from the farm, NBC News reported.

David Neily & Justice

Lisa Neily claimed in a petition that police found her father's two vehicles, his wallet and eyeglasses. His dog, Justice, was also discovered on the property. "Dad would not have left his dog," she said.

The small California town David Neily was based in, Westport, had roughly 60 residents during that time. None of them have come forward with any information, NBC reported.

DeNoyer has denied any knowledge of or involvement in the disappearance, according to NBC.

The examinations of Neily's remains, discovered in May 2020, found no evidence of trauma, the sheriff's office statement said, and they continue to investigate the circumstances surrounding his disappearance.

Lisa Neily posted on Facebook that she is “not convinced foul play wasn't involved.”

David Neily's remains were found in an old-growth Douglas-fir forest in Branscomb, about 3.5 miles from where his car was found, the statement said.

DNA analysis of his remains and dental records examined by Jim Wood, a California Assembly member and forensic dentistry expert, determined they belonged to Neily.

“We're not giving up hope that we can find out what happened to him. We're not giving up,” Lisa Neily told the Associated Press on Sunday.

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Background: "Where Are They, Jimmy?" by Bruce Anderson (August, 2007)

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SUPERVISOR WILLIAMS: A recent news story about the county touched on chambers, “But almost $370,000 was spent to remodel the Board of Supervisors chambers.” Remodel makes it sound cosmetic as if the chairs were not comfortable enough. Actually, the upgrades included the cameras, audio system, computers, and layout changes necessary to perform hybrid meetings. I'm pleased by these changes because it allows greater public participation, especially for people who don't live near the county seat. Just after opening, we enjoyed important public input from Gualala. I've always felt angst over the lack of equity in requiring people to drive three hours round trip to speak three minutes, and with the county's climate commitments, it's even more pressing to mitigate that 130-mile round trip drive. Other changes include improved ventilation/filtering and re-positioning staff so that the public can see their faces when they present. These changes benefit board meetings but also Planning Commission and the various other uses. The room isn't any more luxurious or decorative, but instead, it allows for better public participation.

ED NOTE: Pointless and expensive remodel out of covid relief funds not authorized for it.


(1) A portion of that [COVID] money was given to each county with the intention of compensating the county’s essential workers who are ALSO TAX PAYERS and who kept the county going throughout the pandemic as “Essential Workers”. Every single other county recognized this and with integrity compensated their “Essential workers”. NOT Mendocino County. Mendocino County steals from the employees and steals from the taxpayers And give to themselves. They remodel a room that they haven’t step foot in for over two years. They spend 35,000 for extra security metal detectors at their building when other county employees are working at unsafe locations surrounded by people that are homeless mentally ill, drug addicted and violent and carrying weapons. Let’s not forget the murder that just happened in the Social Services parking lot a month ago. The murder suspect had approached and threatened dozens of county employees over the several months he was living in his vehicle in the parking lot.

The BOS thinks nothing of the employees that run this county and PAY taxes in this county. Instead they search for non-issues to allocate the money to because they think county workers are the least deserving populous in this county. They have no problem taking the money from the people by raising taxes and the cost of everything including employees medical insurance but they’re still hiring at minimum wage. What a joke! In-N-Out Burger is literally paying more to their employees than several dozen starting positions at Mendocino County. The union has been taking polls and researching the housing crisis and homelessness among county workers for the past two years. That should give you an idea of how under paid workers are. They complain about not being able to keep employees but they can’t seem to figure out why. They focus on replacing people but they don’t care about keeping good people.

(2) Agreed absolutely 100%. The other counties gave it to their essential workers. Also made payments to their public. Those other counties did not think about it twice. They didn’t even blink an eye thechecks were cut immediately. Mendocino County needs to have a strategic plan, an outside consultant, several independent audits and 75 Board of Supervisors meetings before they can decide to disburse it. And approval from the interm acting CEO. At that point there will be $1 left Squandered away in the typical “administrative cost excuse fashion” The other counties they did not hold on to it they disbursed it. How much of the PG&;E money has actually made it back out to the community??? LOL LOL LOL. More of the same. It hasn’t earned the name Mendoshitshow County for nothing! 

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NEWLY REMODELED 400 SQ FT STUDIO IN NAVARRO. It has its own whole-house water filtering system, temperature controlled electric and propane heat, and AC with humidifier. Garbage and WiFi internet included in rent. It is across the Hwy from the Navarro store. 

$1000 per month and a $1000 deposit to move in. 

Call Marty at 510 432-6196

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WHAT in the USA is not failing these days? Our Potemkin economy of nail parlors, porn sites, pizza huts, casinos, drugs, and helicopter money? Our reckless relations with other countries? Public and higher education? Medicine? Financial markets? The sputtering engine of government under a phantom president? It’s all sinking into chaos and incoherence. For now, food just costs more than ever; wait until it’s simply unavailable. Nobody will care about anything else after that. 

— James Kunstler

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Canada Goose by the ocean (photo by Dick Whetstone)

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Dear Editor,

I am writing to clarify a statement made by Mr. Redding in his response to your questions. Mr. Redding states, “Mr. Paul Garza tells me that West Company suggested that the County have regular training sessions for potential applicants on how to successfully complete an application. This would reduce the amount of time staff spends on reviewing and returning faulty or incomplete applications. The County rejected the idea.” 

Mr. Redding is not representing what I said to him accurately. I offered my own idea to the former Director of Building and Planning, Brent Schultz. The idea was that training for applicants in advance of filing an application would better inform the application process. I have no idea what Mr. Schultz did with my suggestion and but it was NOT a proposal made by West Business Development Center.

Thank you,

Paul Garza Jr.

West Business Development Center Board President

Fort Bragg

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THE KELLEY HOUSE MUSEUM in Mendocino, California seeks a Museum Curator responsible for the development and management of the museum, archives, and its exhibition programs. The Curator is the public face for the museum, archives, education, and all related activities. The Curator also assists with donor development, marketing efforts, community outreach and general operations. This is a part-time, 25-hour a week position that reports to the Director. For more details please go to the Kelley House website:

Deadline to apply is May 31, 2022. Open until filled. No calls please.

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Some 100 civilians evacuated from the besieged Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol were due to arrive in the Ukrainian-controlled city of Zaporizhzhia.

Russia’s defense ministry said it had carried out a missile strike on a military airfield near the port city of Odesa, destroying a runway and a hangar containing Western-supplied weapons and ammunition. 

Meanwhile, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Moscow’s upcoming Victory Day celebrations on May 9 will have no bearing on the pace of its operations in Ukraine. 

In Ukraine’s Kharkiv region, Governor Oleh Synehubov warned residents in the north and east of the city of Kharkiv to remain in their shelters due to heavy Russian shelling. 

Serhiy Gaidai, the governor of the Luhansk region, urged people to evacuate while it was still possible. 

Russia’s defense ministry accused Ukraine’s forces of shelling a school, kindergarten and cemetery in villages in the occupied southern Kherson region, the Russian RIA news agency said. There was no immediate response from Ukraine. 

Ukraine’s military said Russia is redeploying some forces from Mariupol to the eastern Luhansk region as Moscow presses ahead with its refocused offensive in the Donbas. 

More than one-quarter of the 120 battalion tactical groups Russia committed at the start of the war in Ukraine are likely now ineffective for combat, the UK’s defense ministry said. 

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Attorneys for the grower plaintiffs had argued they've got more evidence to show and urged the judge to keep their case alive.

by Maria Dinzeo

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) — A federal judge shot down claims that a cadre of corrupt law enforcement officials conspired to extort cash and cannabis from Northern California pot farmers under the guise of enforcing marijuana laws.

In a ruling late Friday, U.S. District Judge Susan Illston called the complaint “larded with conclusory and speculative allegations,” about a complex hub and spoke racketeering conspiracy with Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office and Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office at the center.

Attorney William Cohan said there’s a trove of circumstantial evidence supporting claims that dirty cops were robbing and extorting legal marijuana growers with impunity, then selling their ill-gotten seizures on the black market while the Mendocino County Sheriff and District Attorney covered it up.

He said Sheriff Tom Allman, Undersheriff Randy Johnson and District Attorney David Eyster also extorted growers by instituting programs wherein farmers would have to pay bribes in order to grow medical cannabis and prevent their farms from being eradicated.

“They created ordinances that were clearly in violation of state and federal law, extorting money by the district attorney and the sheriff through the so-called restitution and zip ties programs. But once it became possible to grow cannabis legally the defendants and their co-conspirators were unable to muster the essential self-restraint,” Cohan said at a hearing Friday as he urged Illston not to toss the growers’ racketeering lawsuit.

They are also accused of covering up the actions of dirty cops like Brendon “Jacy” Tatum and partner Joseph Huffaker, two former Rohnert Park policemen who were indicted in 2021 for posing as federal agents to rob motorists along Highway 101 of cash and cannabis.

According to the criminal complaint, the two officers are said to have seized thousands of pounds of weed and hundreds of thousands of dollars without making arrests, reporting crimes or issuing receipts for the seized goods.

Tatum has since pleaded guilty to extortion and conspiracy to commit extortion.

Illston said she was inclined to dismiss the case. “The allegations, though lengthy and quite interesting are speculative and conclusory and just don’t amount to a RICO claim,” she said.

Cohan said Tatum and Huffaker operated in Mendocino County “with not only the consent but the active coverup by the sheriff” under which Tatum issued a press release at Allman’s direction that took credit for robbing plaintiff Ezekiel Flatten. The lawsuit claims Tatum released the press statement to protect former Mendocino County Sheriff’s Sgt. Bruce Smith, who was actually there with Huffaker.

Smith is named as a defendant in the case along with former California Department of Fish and Wildlife Lt. Steve White, with whom he allegedly conspired to steal marijuana from growers for later sale on the black market by using phony search warrants for water violations to gain access to growers’ properties.

Cohan said he’s since gathered evidence of a warehouse in Ukiah where the extorted cannabis has been stored and a trucking company transporting it around the United States, as well as a Mendocino County Sheriff’s lieutenant who currently lives on the warehouse premises, ostensibly to protect the ill-gotten weed. Cohan told Illston that he would like to add Lt. Jason Caudillo and the trucking company owner as defendants.

“They’re involved in the storage and transportation of the extort cannabis,” he said.

“So tell me what exactly these folks did,” Illston said.

“Caudillo lives within a fenced area that contains the warehouse. He lives there and we have photos of his official vehicle right there,” Cohan said, adding that the warehouse is said to store wood finishes, but is also surrounded by security cameras and razor wire.

“It’s all circumstantial evidence at this point. We can’t get search warrants, we can’t conduct raids. We need subpoena power to gather more circumstantial evidence, unless we get more indictments of any, some, or all of these co-conspirators,” he said, noting that the grand jury investigation that indicted Tatum and Huffaker is ongoing and that he believes Huffaker and Tatum are cooperating. “We anticipate some of these defendants will also be indicted.”

“Our clients are destined to put corrupt law enforcement out of business. They’ve been hiding behind the federal prohibition to justify what they were doing,” Cohan said, adding that generations of corrupt cops have been trying to make money off of illegal cannabis seized from growers, but the well is drying up as more states legalize the drug, including California.

“If enough people get licenses and we get rid of the corrupt cops, pretty soon California is going to be like Colorado, raising missions of dollars to support public education and not a cadre of corrupt cops,” he said.

John Scott, another attorney representing the growers, said Illston should allow the plaintiffs to add more evidence to their complaint.

“We believe the missing piece of the puzzle was how was the marijuana that was being taken from our clients and other growers — if it wasn’t being buried — what was happening to it? We believe we are able to identify at least one person associated with a warehouse who is storing the marijuana who associated with to other co-conspirators,” Scott said. “You have Lt. Caudillo living in a double-wide trailer right next to the warehouse. What is he doing there and why is he living there? It just raises an inference that he’s there to protect the cannabis.”

He also said the trucking company owner has close ties to Sheriff Allman and is “practically neighbors” with Bruce Smith.

“We can connect all those dots. He’s got a trucking company that has been transporting, we believe, marijuana from Mendocino County.”

Scott said they don’t have direct evidence yet but can get it through discovery and bank records subpoenas.

But Illston found the growers’ lawsuit fell so far short of specifics that she didn’t believe it could be salvaged and declined to allow the growers to amend their complaint as requested.

“In sum, the First Amended Complaint does not contain any plausible, non-conclusory, non-speculative allegations of criminal activity by either defendant or the Mendocino County alleged co-conspirators, much less a pattern of racketeering activity necessary for a RICO claim,” she wrote, adding that aside from Huffaker and Tatum’s highway robbery scheme, the other alleged extortion activity “consists of facially legitimate law enforcement activities.”

Scott and Cohan did not return calls seeking comment on the ruling. Attorneys for Smith and White could not be reached by phone or email late Friday.


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ADVOCATE HEADLINE: ‘Fort Bragg City Council selects company for Grocery Outlet environmental report


So sad that our City Council is willfully opening themselves up for embarrassment by selecting and approving the "suspicious" De Novo Planning Group to manage the EIR for the controversial Grocery Outlet project in Fort Bragg. Thanks to the Advocate News for their good reporting on this. 

The De Novo Group had already started work with Best Development before being selected which implies that De Novo is already bought and paid for by the developer and was not truly selected by the City. This "pre-selection work" also lowered their cost estimate when the they sent their proposal to the City as they had already completed some work vs. the other two groups that had applied for the job. How is this legal and fair?

Furthermore, De Novo and Best are reportedly planning to use the old traffic and biological studies and reports from the MND 1.5 years ago, for the EIR, to save time and money. The entire point of conducting this EIR was for the project to undergo an independent and unbiased review that would include new and comprehensive studies on project impacts to traffic and the environment. 

So what we seem to have is a sham of an EIR being conducted that the City Council knowingly signed off on which is going to unnecessarily open them up to legal challenges for not doing their job to hold this shady developer accountable to the CEQA process. It looks like they are afraid of doing the right thing and we have to wonder why that is...

* * *

BILL KIMBERLIN: My old boss George Lucas shooting "American Graffiti".

Later, I shot "American Nitro" and wrote a book about both experiences. You can find it here...

* * *


IRV SUTLEY NOTES that Nathan Bedford Forrest is going to be disinterred and dumped offshore as Osama bin Laden was. Quoting the zealots responsible: "Nathan Bedford Forrest was a traitor to the United States. The Confederate criminals killed far more American service personnel during the Civil War than the number of people slaughtered by Osama Bin Laden's attack on the Twin Towers. Forest committed domestic terrorism with his formation of the Ku Klux Klan and it's racist post war suppression of the rights of Black Americans. When Forrest's body is disinterred from the Memphis cemetery, the corpse ought to be taken aboard a US Naval vessel and deep sixed in exactly the same manner as Bin Laden was disposed of."

THING IS, Forrest died a liberal, died lamenting his racism and his racist history. Of course the merciless ones, preening their righteousness, don't read anything that might contradict their ignorant views.

IRV: "Reminds one of the political correctness in Fort Bragg over Braxton Bragg. Today's P.C. mini mob at Noyo Harbor seems to ignore Bragg's military assignment there was to protect the Indian peoples from bands of savage marauding white occupiers some of whom collected bounties for desecrating the remains of the indigenous."

TRYING MY DARNDEST here to look at in-county healthcare dispassionately, but would anybody miss the Adventist octopus if its three-hospital monopoly disappeared? It's clear that people who can get outta here if they have serious medical problems do get out of here for either Santa Rosa or UCSF in San Francisco. People with not-so-serious medical probs get them resolved at their local clinic, and every area of the county has one. All the county's clinics are mini-hospitals anyway, lacking only the after hours emergency service. Couple more doctors at each clinic and bye-bye Adventists.

STEVEN HELM, 75, of Fort Bragg, was arrested and charged with molesting a ten-year-old grandchild. He died in his sleep Sunday morning (May 1st) in the Mendocino County Jail. On-line comments from Kym Kemp's website present a range of views. Sheriff Kendall told me Sunday that his department couldn't find any molestation history for Helm prior to the current charges.

(1) “It’s important to note that the crimes Helm stood accused of were never tried in a court of law, nor will they be due to his death”. He could be innocent!

(2) He could be. Doesn’t matter if the chances of that are low, or that he “looks guilty.” There is no faster way to ruin someone’s life than to throw such an accusation his way, and it has happened plenty. Because of this, the accused must be assumed innocent until proven guilty.

It even seems not quite right that there is no trial after his death, because it would really be the only way to exonerate him, clear his name, and punish his accusers (somehow) if he weren’t guilty.

Not to say he was innocent. Just that it’s possible. But now, the last thing ever known about him will be this charge and the accompanying assumption of guilt.

(3) I had an old friend accused of molesting his daughter. It took a couple years for the true story to shake out but it was his crazy mean ex trying to get full custody. Poor guy! At least he did not get convicted on bullshit and thrown in prison!! The ex was never charged with lying but she should have been….Then I knew a guy from old-time Dead tour that never got convicted but it came out years later he WAS molesting a couple children as they grew up. That sicko is now in Hawaii being “free” …

Anyways it’s a terrible crime that sometimes gets accused of innocent guys. Not saying this guy is just saying it happens. It might be the worst false accusation possible…or implied, or hinted at…because most of us want pedophiles to die

(4) Exactly.

I think most of us have stories similar to the first one you mentioned. One of them i knew happened before the internet, so the guy and wife got to move to a new town and probably nobody ever knew what he had been accused of or why they had to leave. (Think i might know about the one you speak of, unless this happens more than even we think: the woman came to my neck of the woods with two kids, telling the story of the abusive ex, and everyone believed her because we didn’t know any of the players. But just recently someone told me that where she came from, everyone knew SHE was the liar.)

(5) This whole write up [by Matt Lafever] gave me chills. Part cosmic justice, part mystery. He will never be tried. No one but him and the child will ever know the truth. An entire region glad. A timely death. A public servant who reminds us of a higher power. And we will never know anything else about it.

* * *

CATCH OF THE DAY, May 2, 2022

Anderson, Bermudez, Delcampo

DEBORAH ANDERSON, Ukiah. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, shoplifting, disobeying court order, failure to appear.

JESUS BERMUDEZ, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, vandalism, resisting.

JULIO DELCAMPO-VELAZQUEZ, Ukiah. Under influence.

Fitzgerald, Imus, Lopez

JOSEPH FITZGERALD, Clearlake/Ukiah. Failure to appear.

JOHN IMUS JR., Ukiah. Under influence, parole violation.

CHRISTOPHER LOPEZ, Ukiah. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun, domestic abuse.

Nava, Olvera, Parker


EVERARDO OLVERA JR., Albion. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, criminal threats, resisting/threatening.

MICHAEL PARKER, Ukiah. Concealed dirk-dagger, county parole violation.

Pike, Solorio, Stroud

DEMETRIA PIKE, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, resisting

FERNANDO SOLORIO-SOLORIO, Clearlake/Ukiah. Unlawful sexual intercourse with minor when perpetrator is over 21 and victim is under 16.


* * *


WASHINGTON — A draft opinion circulated among Supreme Court justices suggests that earlier this year a majority of them had thrown support behind overturning the 1973 case Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion nationwide, according to a report published Monday night in Politico. It’s unclear if the draft represents the court’s final word on the matter.

The Associated Press could not immediately confirm the authenticity of the draft Politico posted, which if verified marks a shocking revelation of the high court’s secretive deliberation process, particularly before a case is formally decided.

A Supreme Court spokeswoman said the court had no comment.

The news outlet published what was labeled as a “1st Draft” of the “Opinion of the Court” in a case challenging Mississippi's ban on abortion after 15 weeks, a case known as Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

The Supreme Court has yet to issue a ruling in the case, and opinions — and even justices’ votes — have been known to change during the drafting process. The court is expected to rule on the case before its term is up in late June or early July.

The draft is signed by Justice Samuel Alito, a member of the court's 6-3 conservative majority, who was appointed by former President George W. Bush.

“Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” the draft opinion states.

“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” it adds, referencing the 1992 case Planned Parenthood v. Casey that affirmed Roe’s finding of a constitutional right to abortion services but allowed states to place some constraints on the practice. “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”

The draft opinion in effect states there is no constitutional right to abortion services and would allow individual states to more heavily regulate or outright ban the procedure.

Politico said only that it received “a copy of the draft opinion from a person familiar with the court’s proceedings in the Mississippi case along with other details supporting the authenticity of the document.”

The report came amid a legislative push to restrict abortion in several Republican-led states — Oklahoma being the most recent — even before the court issues its decision. Critics of those measures have said low-income women will disproportionately bear the burden of new restrictions.

The leak jumpstarted the intense political reverberations that the high court’s ultimate decision was expected to have in the midterm election year. Already politicians on both sides of the aisle were seizing on the report to fundraise and energize their supporters on either side of the hot-button issue.

Reacting Monday evening to news of the draft decision, a post made on the official Twitter feed of Planned Parenthood stressed that abortions are still legal in this country.

A follow-up tweet by the international nonprofit agency, which provides reproductive health care and sex education, then urged supporters to sign a petition to fight back against political efforts to ban abortions in 26 states in the U.S.

“While abortion is still legal, tonight’s report makes clear that our deepest fears are coming true,” the agency tweeted. “We have reached a crisis moment for abortion access.”

An AP-NORC poll in December found that Democrats increasingly see protecting abortion rights as a high priority for the government.

Other polling shows relatively few Americans want to see Roe overturned. In 2020, AP VoteCast found that 69% of voters in the presidential election said the Supreme Court should leave the Roe v. Wade decision as is; just 29% said the court should overturn the decision. In general, AP-NORC polling finds a majority of the public favors abortion being legal in most or all cases.

Still, when asked about abortion policy generally, Americans have nuanced attitudes on the issue, and many don’t think that abortion should be possible after the first trimester or that women should be able to obtain a legal abortion for any reason.

Alito said the court can't predict how the public might react and shouldn't try. “We cannot allow our decisions to be affected by any extraneous influences such as concern about the public’s reaction to our work,” Alito wrote in the draft opinion, according to Politico.

At arguments in December, all six conservative justices signaled that they would uphold the Mississippi law, and five asked questions that suggested that overruling Roe and Casey was a possibility.

Only Chief Justice John Roberts seemed prepared to take the smaller step of upholding the 15-week ban, though that too would be a significant weakening of abortion rights.

Until now, the court has allowed states to regulate but not ban abortion before the point of viability, around 24 weeks.

The court's three liberal justices seemed likely to be in dissent.

It's impossible to know what efforts are taking place behind the scenes to influence any justice's vote. If Roberts is inclined to allow Roe to survive, he need only pick off one other conservative vote to deprive the court of a majority to overrule the abortion landmark.


* * *

* * *

CAROL BRODSKY: Roe getting overturned. I feel particularly moved to speak to this. I have had a miscarriage at 5 months. I have had children. I have had an abortion. I have worked at Planned Parenthood and directly assisted with many abortions. I have seen what “products of conception” look like and weighed that cellular material into jars, where it got labeled and respectfully stored in a locked cupboard until medical waste came to retrieve the jars. Was there “potential” of life there? Sure, but not at 7 weeks. Not at 15 weeks. Not at 20 weeks. Not at 24 weeks, back in the 90’s. Was there trauma? Yes. Especially for the mother who had 6 children, whose spouses refused to wear protection and whose family couldn’t afford another child. Or the 12-year-old who came in with her mom and one could only imagine from the family’s terror how that pregnancy occurred. Or the 45-year-old woman who had NO idea she could become pregnant again. I could go on and on. But if you agree with me-and I respect you if you don’t, please know this is yet another reason why our country is at an incredibly dangerous precipice. Privacy-based rights are on the line. Climate is on the line. Democracy is on the line. This Supreme Court decision is about far, far more than abortion. Our literal freedom is on the line. We are truly in the full-blown Upside Down. This is a dark day - not just for women, but for every one of us, if Republicans assume power in 2022. I fear for the future of my granddaughters and great-granddaughter. And for all of us.

* * *


ART WALK: emphasis on ART and WALK. Ukiah is a very walkable town. Join artists and their hosts for an evening of art, music and refreshments as you stroll from one venue to the next; each showcasing local art and artistry. Held in Historic Downtown Ukiah on the first Friday of each month, the First Friday Art Walk is the perfect way to relax your body, mind and soul. This enjoyable evening begins at 5:00 p.m. and promises to delight your senses; all while enjoying the company of others. All County Health Orders will be followed. For more information contact (707) 391-3664

photo by Janelle Moreno

* * *



All living things rely on water for life — plants, animals, humans and fish. But water has times of plenty, and then there are times when it can be scarce. We build dams to control the supply of water and to control flooding. Right now, we are in a drought, and everything and everyone has less water — plants, animals, humans and even fish. We need to build more water containment and save what rainwater we receive.

Those who want to remove Scott and Cape Horn dams to give fish more water do not realize taking water for the fish takes water that supplies ranchers, farms and you and I.

With less water, crops cannot be planted, ranches cut back on the number of animals. What about humans? We still want to eat, flush the toilet and take a bath.

Right now, we are at a time when we all have to suffer and compromise on the luxury of an abundance of water. With proper management of what we have, we will come back from these difficult times.

Paul Benkover


* * *

* * *

ON-LINE COMMENT: "Good grief - still waiting for the honest journalist who will print the actual names and description of the laws they are so against and feel threatened by. Both FL and AL laws are for the protection of parental rights and authority to care for their children; it's not about disenfranchising anyone. If anyone should be upset, it's parents with children in the CA public school system where the children are forced to attend gender identity indoctrination and the parents are unable to opt out - CA Education Code Section 51932(b).

Florida HB 241: Parents bill of rights

The bill provides that the state, its political subdivisions, any other governmental entity, or other institution may not infringe upon the fundamental rights of a parent to direct the upbringing, education, health care, and mental health of a minor child. If those entities infringe upon a parent’s fundamental right, they must demonstrate that the action is reasonable and necessary to achieve a compelling state interest, and the action must be narrowly tailored and not otherwise served by less restrictive means.

Alabama SB 184: Alabama Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act

Public health, minors, biological male or female, sexual state, practices to alter or affirm minor's sexual identity or perception such as prescribing puberty blocking medication or surgeries, prohibited, exceptions, nurses and school personnel not to withhold information from parents, violations a Class C felony."

* * *

Larry Fuente & Friend, 1993

* * *


by Jonah Raskin

Not long ago when I wrote about Mary McChesney for the AVA, a great many people responded. Seems like she has many fans and followers in the AVA world. So this is written for all those folks who care about her and her art. Here goes:

This year, legendary Sonoma County artist Mary McChesney will celebrate, if all goes well, the 100th anniversary of her birth. It probably won’t be a very festive occasion since Mary is in a “rest home” in Petaluma, and as one dear friend put it “sadly not clear in her mind.” Longtime Sonoma County librarian Karen Petersen is working overtime to save Mary’s papers, place them in the history room of the Sonoma County Public Library, and to acquire some of her stunning art work. Petersen also would like to find someone who might save the space on Sonoma Mountain where Mary and her husband Robert made art together for decades. The gorgeous property is on the market and for sale for $1,300,000. I know, way beyond the resources of most AVA readers. Some years ago, the reporter, art critic, Gretchen Giles, wrote a piece about the McChesneys that was titled “True Bohemians.” It was subtitled “Artists Robert and Mary McChesney found peace outside the limelight.” They did it, indeed. In addition to the peace that sustained them in the wilderness of Sonoma Mountain, they also found the inspiration to paint and sculpt and befriend fellow artists such as Hassel Smith, Agnes Martin and Richard Diebenkorn. Santa Rosa art dealer, Dennis Calabri, has been Mary’s number one fan for decades. He still is. Her work is for sale at the Calabri Gallery on 10th Street, not far from Old Courthouse Square in Santa Rosa. In a world in which art and artists are too often forgotten, it would be a crying shame if Mary’s and Robert’s landmark studio, and Mary’s papers were lost forever. Isn’t there someone out there who cares about the preservation of art? And isn’t there a painter or a sculptor who would like nothing better than to move into the McChesney’s home which has been remodeled and turned into living and working space. Several years ago I visited Mary in the Petaluma facility where she was living and where I found her as feisty as ever. Some of her drawings were on a wall. One of them said, “Take it easy, but take it.” Another said, “Don't Get Mad, Get Even.” If anyone out there would like to make sure that Mary’s work isn’t forgotten they might contact

* * *

First Caspar Mill, 1862

* * *

LE VENT DU NORD, Sunday, May 15, 2:00 pm, at Mendocino College Center Theatre

2021-22 season just keeps getting more exciting!

“The north wind” is blowing in from Quebec, and we can’t wait to present Le Vent du Nord for our season grand finale on Sunday, May 15, 2:00 pm at the Mendocino College Center Theatre.

About Le Vent Du Nord

Award-winning, beloved by audiences worldwide, and highly acclaimed, Le Vent du Nord("luh von du nor" - close enough!) is a leading force in Quebec's progressive francophone folk movement. The group's vast repertoire draws from both traditional sources and original compositions, delivering a broad range of global influences with hard-driving rhythms, strong voices, and great harmonies.

The five members play a rousing assortment of instruments including the fiddle, guitar, bouzouki, hurdy-gurdy, keyboard, button accordion, and bass. (The bouzouki is a large member of the Mandolin family, and a hurdy-gurdy is a string instrument that produces sound by a hand-crank-turned, rosined wheel rubbing against the strings.) 

The band members' most compelling instruments, however, are their voices, and they will sometimes put aside that assortment of strings and keyboards to offer a capella in rich harmony.

You don't need to understand French to resonate with these five superb musicians in an unforgettable performance!

Covid Protocols

Proof of full vaccination will be required at the door.

Per Mendocino College new protocols:

There are no seating limitations.

Masking is optional but recommended inside the theatre.

Tickets are available for purchase at Mendocino Book Company in Ukiah, Mazahar in Willits, and on the UCCA website.

Single tickets are $30 in advance, and $35 at the door. 

Full-time students may reserve a free ticket by calling (707) 463-2738 and providing your name, phone number and email address.

Doors open at 1:30

For questions or further information, call Susanna on the UCCA line at 707-463-2738.

* * *

Joe Dimaggio, age 55, taking BP in an empty Yankee Stadium.

* * *


by India Walton

When I ran for mayor of Buffalo, New York, last year, my past-due parking tickets became a major reason for reduced favorability among voters. When Stacy Abrams ran for governor of Georgia in 2018, there was a lot of talk in the mainstream media about how much debt she was in. I share these examples because in general, the working poor do not willfully withhold payment for debts. We are faced with the very real decision between paying often illegitimate debts (like parking tickets and student loans) and feeding our children or paying for life-saving medical treatment for our loved ones.

New York State’s recently passed $220 billion budget has me thinking about the broad acceptance of the idea that the wealthy are best equipped to make the decisions that are supposed to benefit the public at large. The state decided that it was a wise decision to give $650 million to the billionaire owners of the Buffalo Bills while turning a blind eye to the crumbling infrastructure, lack of decent housing, and struggling education system in cities like Buffalo. We have now reached the stage of capitalism where corporate-dominated governments are more willing to invest public dollars into entertainment than in the public good.

This month I attended a “debtors assembly” in Washington, D.C., hosted by The Debt Collective. It was the first time I publicly acknowledged how much student debt I carry — along with millions of other people. I am not alone and I have no reason to be ashamed. Not only was it liberating, but it got me thinking: what would municipal, state, and even federal budgets look like if we elect people who have had to decide between medication and student loan payments? Furthermore, what kind of talented and compassionate people would run for office if not forced into the shadows under the stigma and shame of medical, consumer or student debt?

As we look to 2022 midterm elections, voters are questioning the failure of a Democratic majority in Congress to deliver voting rights, the Build Back Better bill, and cancelation of student debt. The single and most simple thing President Biden can do to help save the Democratic majority this midterm, while stimulating the economy, is cancel student debt; and he should do it without delay. In sharp contrast to other highly industrialized countries where higher education is inexpensive or free, approximately 45 million people in our country owe a total of $1.7 trillion in student debt.

We now have the crucial challenge of changing the narrative about who carries the burden of debt, who deserves personal agency, and who deserves decision-making capacity. That is why I am excited to continue to participate in vital coalition work as a member of the RootsAction team. (For more information on our #withoutstudentdebt campaign, visit

The hardships imposed on working people have become even more harsh and inhumane in recent years, while vast wealth has been funneled into the pockets of a very few. As crucial steps to reduce income inequality, we need to reject “debt shaming” and insist on cancelation of student debt.

(India Walton, who emerged last year as a powerful presence in the progressive movement after a stunning Democratic primary victory over a 16-year incumbent mayor of Buffalo, is now the senior strategic organizer for She is leading the RootsAction campaign.)

* * *

sketch of Jean Perdrizet

* * *


In 1970, Alvin Toffler published a book called Future Shock. He predicted a time in which change began to happen so rapidly that no one could keep up, making everyone feel disoriented and crazy…

Ken Rose says the concept of yin and yang was originated by sages watching the progression of sun and shadow on a hill. This past week the sun and clouds have been shifting as rapidly as covid protocols…

I hung up my raincoat and I toweled down my hat Wiped my glasses on my pants and swept the yoga mat. Watching sodden robins through the splattered windowpane, Ground my teeth and thanked the heavens for the gift of rain.

It’s too wet to go outside, so I'll sit here alone Watching one more 1980s movie on my phone People singing, dancing, drinking whiskey from a flask, Making love and making war and no one wears a mask.

Lo! the longed - for sun appears. I go out on the deck And feel the golden glow upon my belly and my neck Till fire sirens fill the air, and I obsess about My go bag, Russia and Ukraine, the fires and the drought.

Then the clouds drift overhead and bless us with more rain. Puddles in my walking shoes and water on the brain. Present Shock, I call it, while I’m wringing out my socks, Catch 2022, the year of plague and paradox. 

— Holly Tannen

* * *

Capitalist Visiting Crime Scene

* * *


by Ralph Nader

There is something about entrenched bureaucracies that transcend nations and cultures. When bureaucracies are confronted with unanticipated or new challenges, they freeze – like a deer facing headlights.

Sears, Roebuck and Company saw Walmart coming out of Arkansas for years and spreading all over the country, but the Sears bosses could not adjust to deal with this swarming business model. Sears, once the premium retail and mail order company in the nation, is now almost gone.

The lumbering General Motors (GM) had years to confront the electric car challenge of Tesla. Tiny Tesla took on giant GM, which built electric cars as prototypes long before Elon Musk was born. GM launched the much-troubled Chevrolet Volt and other converted model brands, but Musk isn’t losing any sleep over competition from GM or the other giant auto manufacturers. He just reported last quarter sales of over 300,000 electric vehicles, which means expected sales of well over one million dollars in 2022 or 50% over the previous year. Tesla’s profits are skyrocketing as well, as more Tesla manufacturing plants open. The GM bureaucracy, under CEO-engineer Mary Barra, just can’t put it together no matter its bold promises to convert to all electric vehicles.

Similarly, the national Democratic Party bureaucrats are inept or bewildered. With its record-setting campaign fundraising, the Party can’t seem to figure out how to go on the offensive against the overtly lying, cruel, corrupt, law-breaking, Wall Street over Main Street, Trumpian Republican Party. GOP fictions are fabricated and reinforced with wild falsifications – e.g., critical race theory being taught in elementary schools, Democratic politicians wanting to defund the police, Democrats being “socialists,” and the latest, that Democrats support teaching gay rights and gay lifestyles to early elementary school children. These accusations have left the Democratic apparatchiks tongue-tied. They can neither come up with easily pummeling rebuttals, exciting slogans, nor even authentic boasting about delivered and proposed social safety net and infrastructure programs that provide necessary assistance. How hard is it to boast about the $300 per month to over 60 million children cut off by GOP Congressional callousness? Or a $15 minimum wage? Or good-paying jobs repairing and expanding public services for all workers also opposed by the GOP?

Article after article in the mainstream media depicts the Democratic Party as depressed, discouraged and predicting their own defeat in the November election. They are searching for effective “messaging” by looking over each other’s shoulders.

Bear in mind that many of their Republican opponents are political crooks, law violators and voter suppressors. Senator Rick Scott (R-FL), who is in charge of the Senate November campaigns, wants to tax 100 million low-income Americans and sunset Social Security and Medicare. (See, Senator Scott’s An 11 Point Plan to Rescue America).

Democratic political operatives are frantic and down in the dumps. Yet they cling to their corporate-conflicted consultancies that are making it worse for themselves. Facing their self-fulfilling prophecies of November doom in the Senate and the House, they are still not welcoming the advice and know-how of the civic community, which fifty years ago worked with the Democratic Party to enact the fundamental consumer, environmental and worker safety legislation.

GOP strategists mock the Democrats regularly as not having a clue as to what ordinary Americans want. Unfortunately, whether it is arrogance, stupidity or historical ignorance, the Dems rarely return calls of civic leaders who know how to connect with Americans where they live, work and raise their families.

Of course, it doesn’t help that the mainstream media has excluded the activities and reports by these national and state organizations. They gave coverage to the work of these groups in the past.

Can, at the very least, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and its network of related federal and state committees, pollsters, fundraisers and consultants learn from Harry S. Truman in his underdog 1948 presidential campaign against the former prosecutor and New York Governor Thomas Dewey? Pollsters and pundits described Truman as a sure loser and a has-been. Southern segregationists or Dixiecrats walked out of the Democratic nominating convention and formed their States’ Rights Party.

These setbacks just got “Give-Em Hell Harry” underway. He called Congress back into session so he could show the public the differences between his policies and the retrograde Republicans. As related in Robert Kuttner’s new book, Going Big, Truman pushed “…legislation on housing, aid to education, a higher minimum wage, development and reclamation programs for the South and West, increased Social Security, and expanded public power.” With these popular hammers, Truman provoked the fierce opposition of what he repeatedly called, the “do-nothing 80th Congress,” controlled by Republicans, and set the stage for highlighting sharp differences with the GOP in his presidential campaign.

Come September 1948, Truman spent 33 days covering 21,928 miles on the railroad campaign trail, attacking the Republicans and their “big money boys.” In Dexter, Iowa, Kuttner reports, “he told a crowd of some ninety thousand people” (outdoors):

“I wonder how many times you have to be hit on the head before you find out who’s hitting you? …These Republican gluttons of privilege are cold men. They are cunning men…They want a return of the Wall Street dictatorship…I’m not asking you to vote for me. Vote for yourselves.”

This was the language of class warfare that still resonates as well in 2022 as it did in 1948 or in 1933. The Democrats can even quote mega-billionaire Warren Buffett who candidly said there is class warfare in America, “…but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”

The Democrats have memories of many inept races for the White House and the Congress that they should have won handily over the last 25 years. What they should remind themselves of now is how the FDR, Truman and LBJ Democrats won their elections against much more tame Republicans than the now vicious, snarling, anything goes GOP candidates that have turned themselves into Trumpian lackeys.

* * *

Otagi Nenbutsu-ji Temple, Kyoto, Japan with over 1200 stone sculptures of rakan, Buddha’s disciples, all with different facial expressions and poses


  1. Michael Koepf May 3, 2022

    “Remodel makes it sound cosmetic as if the chairs were not comfortable enough. ” Ted Williams Teddy Boy squirming in his chair for spending covid money where it was not supposed to go.

    • John Robert May 3, 2022

      Yet he can not support the smallest ambulance service request from his own district!

  2. Marmon May 3, 2022


    “I’ve noticed that everyone who is in favor of abortion has already been born.”

    -Ronald Reagan


    • chuck dunbar May 3, 2022

      It’s a serious issue that deserves a serious response:

      “It feels like we are in a very dangerous place in this country, like Roe v. Wade is under threat in a way that it hasn’t been in recent memory. It feels like we are on a precipice of pushing women back in time and back into alleys. It feels like we could once again be on the edge of criminalizing choice.

      If men were the ones who got pregnant, this would never have happened. Men wouldn’t stand for it. Women shouldn’t either.”
      Charles Blow

        • Marmon May 3, 2022

          So am I allowed comment on Roe V Wade or do I have to identify as a woman first before I speak?


          • Mark Scaramella May 3, 2022

            No. You comment on too much as it is.

        • chuck dunbar May 3, 2022

          You are not funny, James. It’s your usual tactic, that does not address the issue, but goes off on some stupid flight of fancy or illusion. If you were a woman, you’d be on the front lines for the right to control your life. But you’re not so you cannot find it in your heart to see the issue through their eyes.

          • Bruce Anderson May 3, 2022

            The preoccupations of these Trumpers — abortion, gender identification, Mickey Mouse as chomo etc only demonstrate what a massive gang of pervs they are.

            • Lazarus May 3, 2022

              The leak from the Supreme Court seems weird to me. I wonder why the court, which is a conservative court, would be messing with abortion issues now. Why not wait until after the November elections. All this has done is give the progressives more sound bites and excuses to bloviate all day. I wondered at first if the draft was legit. But it is reported that Chief Justice Roberts today confirmed the authenticity of the draft.
              Naturally, Biden mumbled his way through any questions, and never addressed the fact that the sanctity of the court got breached.
              As always,

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