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Mendocino County Today: Friday, May 6, 2022

More Rain | Apfel Picnic | Ladder Help | Eminent Domain | Ernie Thankful | Beach Ball | Skunk Challenge | Class 1892 | Missing Jurors | Boonville Troubadours | Limit Rentals | Family Portrait | Ed Notes | Boss Tweed | Indigenous Women | Docsplaining | Ukraine | Ladies Band | Fentanyl Pipeline | Rocket Chalk | Jiggery Pokery | Yesterday's Catch | 4 OM | About Babies | Francis Drake | Foretold | Mask Advice | General Patton | Diaper Money | Military Complex | Mary McChesney | Israeli Dancing | Fracking Report

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PERIODS OF RAIN AND COOLER TEMPERATURES will persist through Saturday morning, with the heaviest rain across Del Norte county. More rain and mountain snow is expected on Sunday with some lingering showers on Monday. Drier weather is expected to follow for the middle of the week. (NWS)

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If you are elderly PLEASE do not go up a ladder to clean your roof & gutters. We will do it FREE for your safety. This offer applies for most homes in reasonably close locations on the coast and valley.

Stephen Dunlap, Dunlap Roofing, (707) 462-7506,

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MALCOLM MACDONALD: Mendocino Railway filed this eminent domain on a citizen, not a corporation like G-P. About twenty acres on outskirts of Willits where the tracks cross Highway 20. Don’t think the general public, or almost anyone, is aware of this. Supposedly offering approximately $100,000 less than what Mr. Meyer would have asked for the property.

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ERNIE PARDINI: This is for all of my friends who reached out to help find me a house to rent, as the house I'm currently renting has been sold. I'm happy to inform all of you that the search is over. I've found a beautiful place in Philo on several acres that borders the Navarro River with a trail leading from my front yard down to a huge private swimming hole. I couldn't be happier. They say that when one door closes another door opens and in this case it made me a believer. But the biggest reward for me is not so much finding a great place to live, but is realizing that so many people were concerned about my well-being. Thank you one and all.

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Re: Court to allow case against Mendocino Railway to move forward…

Last week’s decision by the Mendocino County Superior Court to allow the City of Fort Bragg’s case against Mendocino Railway to move forward is a significant step forward in preserving the City’s oversight over land-use development to protect residents from unregulated commercialization. When local government makes land-use decisions it can impact the quality of life for residents, the character of the town, the economic viability and sustainability of current and future businesses, and how valuable resources such as water, power, and public safety personnel are used. For this reason, all local governments have strict permitting and oversight processes to protect and benefit their residents.

Since acquiring 272 acres of coastal land on the former Georgia Pacific Mill Site, Mendocino Railway has not acted in good faith with regard to development within the City of Fort Bragg. Rather than seeking a Coastal Development Permit application and committing to abide by the same rules as all other developers, Mendocino Railway has instead claimed to operate as a common carrier public utility, and thus would be exempt from regulation by local, regional, and state authorities, including any environmental impact analysis or land-use consequences of construction projects. If left unchallenged, this common carrier assertion would also allow Mendocino Railway to completely bypass the community’s past and future participation in planning reuse of the site.

For good reason, interstate transportation providers, such as Amtrak, Delta Air Lines, and BNSF Railway are federally regulated, allowing their service to function without having to navigate a patchwork of local regulations. Mendocino Railway’s claim to operate as a public utility would equate the Skunk Train service to that of a major, interstate provider which they certainly are not. The City of Fort Bragg believes this is completely overstepping the limits of a simple tourist-excursion railroad, with a dead-end track that has no ability to connect to an outside line.

So, the City of Fort Bragg has challenged Mendocino Railway’s incorrect assertion with a lawsuit submitted to Mendocino County Superior Court, arguing that the excursion sight-seeing train is, in fact, not an interstate transportation provider, and therefore not a public utility. In response, Mendocino Railway promptly submitted a legal pleading, known as a Demurrer, requesting dismissal of the case. The basis of this request rested on the assumption that by virtue of Mendocino Railway’s status as a common carrier public utility, they are above the jurisdiction of even the Mendocino County Superior Court.

However, in a well-reasoned decision citing extensive legal precedent from a previous California Public Utilities Commission determination that Mendocino Railway “is not engaged in interstate transportation-related activities but rather simply provides a sightseeing excursion loop service,” the Court soundly rejected Mendocino Railway’s claim to be above the Court’s jurisdiction. This significant ruling means the City’s case can move forward for full consideration by the Court

The City of Fort Bragg very much values the contribution the Skunk Train makes toward our local tourist economy, and there is no animosity intended by the City’s prosecution of its lawsuit. The City simply insists that Mendocino Railway abide by the rules for development and comply with local, state, and federal regulatory land-use protocols applicable to all other individuals or business owners.

Fort Bragg was once a company town, and our town was devastated when that company left because it wasn’t profitable to stay. It is our responsibility to ensure that local development benefits our residents and not shareholders of a private company deciding what is most profitable for them. With the City’s case proceeding, we look forward to the full merits of our case being heard by the court.

Tess Albin-Smith and Lindy Peters

Fort Bragg City Council Communications Ad-Hoc Committee 

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Mendocino students circa 1892. Front row L - R: John Kennedy, Arthur Hayes, Ollie McLeod, Harold Gray, Joe Golgert, James Corrigan, George Marshal, Joe Ramus; Second row L - R: James Kennedy, Auggie Heeser, John Byrnes, Charles Warner, William Wallace; Third row L - R: Irene McLeod, Mabel Jarvis, Edith Switzer, Carrie Bowman, Eva Barry, Hallie Huff, Florence Jarvis, Mabel Thompson, Belle Brown; Back row L - R: Emma Barton, Mabel Rainey, Rose Silva, Daisy Seavey, Elsie Mulson, Jessie Milton, C. W. Babcock, principal.

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IT’S EASY TO OVERLOOK the occasionally interesting footnotes that the District Attorney adds to his “Jury Outcomes” webpage:

We got a tip that the latest one attached to the Robert Brockway murder trial scheduled for this week was worth a look, and sure 'nuff…

DA: “For two consecutive weeks, the Superior Court did not check-in a pool of potential jurors sufficient to complete jury section and empanel a sworn jury to hear the evidence. As a result, a mistrial occurred and the defendant’s trial will now occur in July. It is hoped that this delay will allow the Superior Court to summons a greater number of potential witnesses so this two-phase trial can move forward.”

This footnote concerns the trial of Robert Brockway of Albion, charged with the murder of 60-year old Jimmie Mooneyham with some kind of medieval broadsword back in October of 2020.

Brockway, Mooneyham

It turns out that the court sent out jury summonses to 450 people, but only 45 showed up and more than half of those 45 claimed hardship.

In another case scheduled to start next week, that of former Ukiah Police Sergeant Kevin Murray charged with sexual and drug misconduct, the exact same jury problem was reported: 450 called, 45 showed up. The exact same? Seems awfully coincidental. Or confusion in the jury admin office?

A good bit of effort goes into preparing for trial, what with prosecution and defense witnesses and cops and family members and victims and even prospective jurors only to have the trial canceled for lack of enough qualified people to hear the case. In the Brockway matter, many of the people called to testify had to make the drive from the Coast to Ukiah, and all for naught. 

This is the first time in recent history that we know of missing jurors resulting in a mistrial. In the distant past there were occasions where County Courthouse passersby were grabbed off the street, so to speak, and pressed into service as jurors.

We’re not the only ones wondering if enough effort is being made to bring enough jurors in to trial. After all, it’s our civic duty and judges can issue mild threats and even fines for ignoring a jury summons (if that’s what happens; there are other reasons too, of course).

For 2022, the Presiding Judge in Ukiah is Jeanine Nadel. Nadel replaced Ann Moorman, and we don’t know if the court's executive officer is still Kim Turner, a Marin County resident. But we doubt this problem would occur under the Moorman/Turner administration.

We’ll keep a closer eye on the DA’s webpage to see if the Case of the Missing Jurors persists.

(Mark Scaramella)

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(Boonville Troubadours)

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Housing Action Coalition (HAT) Petition drive re Short Term Rentals

Sign the petition! Let’s limit short term housing so we have places to live.

The lack of affordable housing in Mendocino County has reached crisis proportions. To save affordable housing for their communities, other counties across California have implemented Short Term Rental (STR) ordinances that limit short-term rentals. It is now urgent for Mendocino County to assume this responsibility. In addition, the lack of affordable housing has a ripple effect on all aspects of our community's well-being. For example, qualified candidates for desperately needed healthcare, law enforcement, and public education jobs cannot find housing for their families and choose to locate elsewhere.

Because it is necessary to preserve long-term housing, we propose that the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors immediately create a Short-Term Rental (STR) Ordinance. The Ordinance should limit the number of commercial STRs when they are more than 2% of area housing, and allow licensing to resume only when their numbers are below the 2% threshold. Said licenses will expire upon sale or transfer of the property.

The proposed Ordinance allows existing STRs in good standing to continue operating. Over 500 STRs exist in the County -- 4% of all coastal housing. Setting the limit at 2% will mitigate growth and let us reclaim houses as rental properties sell. At 2% we could recover more than 100 permanent residences in the next few years.

Time is of the essence. Because Investment in STRs is increasing at an alarming rate, and creating ordinances across departments can be a lengthy process, we urge the Board of Supervisors to assign responsibility for the Short-Term Rental Ordinance to the CEO's office and that the Ordinance is submitted for approval by the BOS before the end of 2022.

To learn more and sign our petition, please visit: and make your voice heard.

Please share this with your friends.

Elizabeth Swenson,

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Family Portrait, c. 1910

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NO CRIME IN ANDERSON VALLEY? Beth Swehla explains: The reason there is no crime in Anderson Valley is because there is no deputy/CHP to catch anyone misbehaving.”

JACK CAKEBREAD has died. He was 92. The Cakebreads were pioneer SoCo vintners who, over the years, have amassed more than 600 acres of grapes. In 1995, they purchased a 60-acre former apple orchard in Anderson Valley, where they grow Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Apples to grapes is not a desirable step forward, but in a mere forty years the Anderson Valley, once a solid economy based on apples, sheep, lumber, fishing, and some tourism, with a genuine community to go with it, is now a community of strangers pegged to a frivolous economy based on ice cream cones and scented sheets.

EVEN THE LIB POLLS show a massive 66% of Americans disapprove of Biden's economic regime while only 23% see conditions as “somewhat good.” Lib media continue to pretend that Biden is fully capable of functioning as president, his obvious incapacity noted and fully exploited by Vlad the Terrible.

SPEAKING OF VLAD, he apparently isn't as nuts as his foreign minister, Lavrov, who declared last week that Hitler was Jewish and that the Jews themselves caused the Holocaust. Vlad has formally apologized for Lavrov's 5150 remarks as he continues razing the entire Ukraine with thousands of its citizens as collateral damage.

SUPERVISOR WILLIAMS: “I love Mendocino County. I value decorum, civility, and thoughtfulness. There are no gimmicks or shortcuts for strengthening county government. We must rely on hard work and collaboration.”

DECORUM implies civility, and of course is key to the passive-aggressive majority dominant in the 5th District who, with zero knowledge of Williams' shabby performance as supervisor, will return him for another four years. 

HOWEVER, even a cursory check of the supervisor's record in office demonstrates not thoughtfulness but a slavish Yes vote for whatever the County CEO has put in front of him and three of his four colleagues. And for all his brandishing of civility and decorum as his guiding principles, his crummy piling on, at CEO Angelo's signal, of the false charge, without apology, that exiting Supervisor McCowen is a thief, is simply more evidence that this guy, in his desire to please CEO Angelo's personal beef with McCowen (and lots of other people), gave McCowen a gratuitous kick while he was down. McCowen did not steal County property. The office stuff he took was his.

WE'VE REVISED upwards our opinion of 3rd District Supervisor Haschak. He seems to have belatedly understood that it's not only ok but crucial to challenge the more egregious missteps of County administration. Haschak is the only supervisor who even seems to be paying attention. 

DEFROCKED UKIAH police officer, Kevin Murray, has already cost Ukiah $250,000 in damages paid to a Ukiah woman, alleged to be a prostitute, who Murray apparently engaged in forced intercourse while in uniform. Murray awaits trial on numerous charges but his matter has been put over because of a lack of jurors.

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"Boss" Tweed, cartoon by Thomas Nast (c. 1871)

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‘SAY HER NAME’: A Remembrance of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Around the Emerald Triangle

Northern California is “a landscape of repeated instances of violence, so saturated that to many, it may seem unavoidable. Indeed, many Indigenous women and girls are taught it is not a question if they will be assaulted, but when and how often.”

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Putin apologised for minister’s Hitler comments, says Israel

The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, apologised for comments by his foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, claiming Adolf Hitler had Jewish origins, according to Israel’s prime minister, Naftali Bennett.

Bennett said he accepted the apology and thanked Putin for clarifying his position, he said. 

The Israeli prime minister said he also asked Putin to consider allowing the evacuation of the besieged Azovstal steel works in the Ukrainian port of Mariupol, following an earlier conversation he had with Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zekenskiy. 

Bennett said Putin promised to set up a corridor for evacuating civilians from the plant.

In an interview with Italian TV earlier this week, Lavrov was asked to address how Russia could say it needed to “denazify” the country when its president, Zelenskiy, is Jewish.

Lavrov replied: "As to [Zelenskiy’s] argument of what kind of nazification can we have if I’m Jewish, if I remember correctly, and I may be wrong, Hitler also had Jewish blood. It doesn’t mean anything at all."

The remarks sparked a diplomatic row with Israel, one of the few western countries that has yet to impose sanctions on Russia over its invasion and has not provided military aid to Ukraine.

Some more anecdotal details emerging from what the United Nations secretary-general António Guterres just described as the “hellscape” that is Mariupol, specifically the situation at the Azovstal steel plant, where Ukrainian soldiers have been taking a last stand in the city and civilians have been hiding, in the face of Russian bombardment, and are now gradually being evacuated, apparently with great difficulty.

Iuliia Mendel, a journalist and former press secretary to Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has tweeted an account from a man she describes as a Crimean Tartar doctor and a Muslim, saying of conditions in the steel plant: “I don’t remember what day of the war it is. People are dying, some from bullets, some from hunger, the wounded from lack of medicine, from terrible conditions.”

According to an interpretation of his account, he goes on to say: “We don’t have time, I don’t know if tomorrow will come. I’m a Muslim, a Crimean Tatar, a descendant of the Gireys. I studied medicine before the occupation. Now I provide medical care to the wounded at Azovstal. I had never seen death before the war. Worked in an ambulance.

“It hurts to watch people die from purulent wounds, the simple lack of antibiotics. We are constantly bombed from the air, sea &land. Please comply with the procedure of withdrawal of all people, including military, from the territory of Azovstal. Stop this nightmare.”

The tweet thread begins with an appeal to Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Tartar is an umbrella term describing various Turkic ethnic groups in the region, including Crimea.

This blog will now hand over to my colleague Maanvi Singh in California who will take you through the next few hours in news from the war.

United Nations secretary general António Guterres has described the war zone in the southern Ukrainian port city of Mariupol as appearing to be “hellscapes”.

More details are coming in on the report from Guterres that the latest operation to get civilians out of Mariupol, including the besieged Azovstal steel plant there, is indeed in progress.

A third operation is underway, Guterres has just told the UN Security Council in New York, Reuters reports.

The United Nations and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) have so far helped nearly 500 civilians flee the area during two operations in the past week.

Guterres declined to give details on the new operation “to avoid undermining possible success.”

“I hope that the continued coordination with Moscow and Kyiv will lead to more humanitarian pauses to allow civilians safe passage from the fighting and aid to reach those in critical need.

We must continue to do all we can to get people out of these hellscapes,” he told the 15-member Security Council. 

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The Point Arena Ladies' Band of 1910, composed of eight ladies and five men. (courtesy Kelley House Museum)

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Hon. Chesa Boudin

San Francisco District Attorney, 350 Rhode Island Street, North Building, Suite 400N, San Francisco, CA 94103 

Re: The San Francisco Tenderloin Fentanyl Emergency 

Dear District Attorney Boudin, 

We are aware that the Mayor of San Francisco, Ms. London Breed, has declared a State of Emergency in the Tenderloin District of San Francisco. One of the main reasons she has done so is due to the fentanyl epidemic in the area. The "open air dealing” of drugs in the Tenderloin area is causing an environment in which these drugs can be easily located, transported, sold and distributed in the area with no repercussions. 

We agree with the mayor and believe the state of affairs in the Tenderloin called for a State of Emergency. Not only does fentanyl cause an emergency for the citizens of San Francisco, but the emergency then spreads to other counties, like ours.

The Humboldt County Drug Task Force has surveyed numerous suspected drug dealers and has followed them to the San Francisco Tenderloin District, wherein, they observed them purchasing fentanyl from dealers in the Tenderloin. They were then followed back to Humboldt where they were stopped, and the fentanyl was confiscated. 

In fact, four people were arrested on April 25, 2022, as they entered Humboldt County after they had purchased fentanyl from the Tenderloin District. Humboldt County had two arrests for fentanyl possession in 2020 and 84 arrests in 2021. Currently arrests for fentanyl possession in 2022 are already at 76 and it is only 4 months into the year. 

As you are aware, fentanyl deaths due to overdose have become a great problem in California. The San Francisco Chronicle has reported 45 deaths from overdoses of fentanyl in March of 2022 in San Francisco alone. Humboldt County has also had many deaths due to the fentanyl that has made it to our county from the Tenderloin. In 2021, Humboldt County lost 35 citizens due to confirmed fentanyl overdoses. The Tenderloin District has become the hub for the purchase of drugs, specifically for the purchase of fentanyl. We ask that your office support the effort of your police department and prosecute the dealers that have taken over your County. It is crucial that the drug haven be dismantled, and the dealers be prosecuted to the full extent of the law in order to prevent another person from needlessly dying from this horrible drug. 

City Attorney Dennis Herrera of San Francisco filed 28 civil lawsuits against known drug dealers seeking an injunction to prevent them from coming into the Tenderloin. He filed the injunctions in order to help stop the brazen open-air drug dealing that has plagued the Tenderloin neighborhood and caused many overdose deaths due to fentanyl. He stated that “We know who these predators are, and we will not allow them to victimize Tenderloin residents with impunity. Dealers take note: If you come to the Tenderloin, you will be arrested, and your drugs will be confiscated." 

You have the ability to continue this effort by prosecuting all cases that are brought to your office and make sure the dealers around the state understand that they are not welcome into your county any longer.

It is imperative that your office focus on this emergency and work with neighboring counties in order to establish both a short-term and long-term solution to this fentanyl crisis.

The County of Humboldt refuses to sit idle while this drug pours into our county from the Tenderloin. If we cannot reach an acceptable solution, we may consider a legal remedy. We look forward to hearing from your office on this most important issue. 


Virginia Bass, Chair Humboldt County Board of Supervisors 

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It’s pretty goddamn funny to hear the HumCo BOS and V. Bass complaining to Chesa Boudin and London Breed about “drug sales”…

Humboldt County is one of the largest “drug producers” since Pablo Escobar, and the taste for dangerous drugs is a simple fallout from the “Drug Trade” (trade you some pounds for some cocaine, heroin and whatever)

Humboldt will never escape this reputation, mostly earned with the county’s never-ending goal of growing the strongest weed in the world…

You bought it, guys, and the falling out junkies are just a part of the landscape of shame, in Humboldt…

If the SF Cops could solve a single problem, they probably would have, by now, and a trip to Target, in the Tenderloin, is a dangerous thing, and there are cops at the door, at most times…

San Francisco is many things, but safe is not one of them.

Just as pot was made legal, mostly because it was too expensive to enforce, incarcerate, mitigate, and prosecute these offenses, now all other prohibited substances must be produced properly, tested for purity, and sold openly, fully taxed, to the public, since no other approach is enforceable.

This isn’t gonna stop, until the real drug, which is money, is removed from the “drug trade”…

And London Breed, who is Mayor, mostly by accident, default and death of other officers, is the worst possible person to hold her $360,000/year job…

She may be mayor, but not for long…

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NORTH COAST OPPORTUNITIES (NCO) is largely successful at administration of multi-million dollar benefits to low-income residents through delivery of case-managed assistance programs and especially the delivery of “head start” services, all of which is unimpeachable. It's my personal experience over here in Lake County, as an advocate for senior citizens and the institutions that support them that I encountered the jiggery-pokery first. Subsequently I watched at close hand their juggling of the books during the Valley Fire's “long-term recovery” process, and successive years of providing very little to Lake County citizens except the funneling service of handing out state dollars, again through “case management.”

A fellow watchdog with equal objections to the claims made by NCO is the manager of one of several agencies which refused to have any truck with their “leadership” in the later recovery efforts from 2016 and 2017. The city of Clearlake itself rejected the NCO offer to lead the long-term recovery from the 2017 fire. 

And now, they have embedded themselves firmly in the deployment of 2022 programs serving the Lake County Board of Supervisors' display of “efforts” to support disaster preparedness (our Tuesday afternoon spectacle was a grand tour, put on just for the bedazzlement of the public). 

NCO's successful Lake County projects in that category are as fantastical as Redwood Quality Management/Redwood Community Services “services” in Mendo. But they have the magic of county government “blessings” enshrouding their contracted services which so far amount to fairs and handouts and bringing in AmeriCorps youngsters to invigorate public displays of information products. 

These are all paid for by the sources of “free money” (taxpayers) with nary a performance report beyond the unquestionable claims of the reports from oh-so-enthusiastic staff, always with the reservation that “if the anticipated funds” don't arrive, the deadlines for delivery of the expected work will be delayed. And then?

(Betsy Cawn)

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CATCH OF THE DAY, May 5, 2022

Cabron, Cabrera, Colley

DEBRA CABORN, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

JOSE CABRERA-INFANTE, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. Controlled substance, probation revocation.

WILLIAM COLLEY JR., Albion. Probation revocation.

French, Hill, Jenkins

AMBER FRENCH, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

JOHN HILL, Mendocino. Stolen vehicle.

THOMAS JENKINS, Bridgeville. Failure to appear.

McElroy, Roberts, Vasquez

TONY MCELROY, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent flyer.)

CHERRI ROBERTS, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent flyer.)

ADAM VASQUEZ, Hopland. Paraphernalia, probation revocation.

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CRAIG LOUIS STEHR: It is 4 in the morning at Building Bridges homeless shelter in Ukiah, California. Am reading Robert Powell's "The Blissful Life" about Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj. A prescient quotation: "Stop identifying with your body and your mind, and your problem is solved." OM

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School’s report should not include claims about Drake…

I submitted several letters to the IJ last year about the real Sir Francis Drake, both the man and his many great accomplishments, based on many years of studying his life in great detail.

The new Western Association of Schools and Colleges report for Archie Williams High School (formerly known as Sir Francis Drake High School) includes a list of reasons from teachers (compiled during the summer of 2020) about why it was important to change the school’s name. I was surprised a publicly shared draft version of the report included this historically inaccurate quote:

“We acknowledge the racist and violent acts of Francis Drake, a slave trader, slave owner, and colonizer, and the legacy of white supremacy he represents. Honoring such a person is counter to the values held by our community and counter to the lessons and values we wish our students and colleagues to learn.”

According to my research, Drake never owned slaves. It was illegal in England at the time, although the two slaving missions that employed him as a young man were backed by Queen Elizabeth I. Drake was not a “slave trader,” but a junior officer following orders from his cousin, John Hawkins.

I have learned that, later in his life, Drake helped one of his best friends, Diego, who was a Black man, become free from slavery in Panama. Drake’s peaceful claim of the Marin area for England was largely to keep it from Spanish rule. Drake’s biggest role in colonization was rescuing early settlers from Roanoke Island in 1586 and returning them to England. Research states that Drake freed more than 1,000 slaves and became an advocate for the rights of Indigenous people worldwide.

The students, faculty and general public deserve a well-researched and accurate final report.

Duane Van Dieman

Mill Valley

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To those still wearing masks

If you are like me, you are not yet ready to let go of wearing a mask in public indoor spaces and crowded outdoor places. If so, please reconsider your cloth masks. With few others wearing masks, you need to upgrade to true N95 or KN95 masks. There are many counterfeit ones out there. This site, has vetted all their masks to be sure they are genuine. I caught an interview with Ezekiel Emanuel, special advisor on health policy during the Obama administration. He recommended this organization as well as beak style masks with two loops that go behind your head. The goal is to have all the air you breathe go through the masks, not leaking in around the edges. And did you know N95 and KN95 masks have an electrostatic charge that further blocks viruses from getting to you?

I have found the masks I bought to be much cooler than others and they don't fog up my glasses much when on properly. Emanuel also said you can re-wear them; just give them a day or so to air out in between uses. Throw them away if they get wet, dirty, or worn for a long period of time or after being on an airplane. These are the ones I bought for about $1 a piece.

Barbara Rice

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“WHEN IN DOUBT, observe and ask questions. When certain, observe at length and ask many more questions.” A controversial figure, Patton rose to the rank of four star General before the end of World War II. While allied Generals had mixed reactions to his leadership during the war, the German’s held him in high regard: German Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt stated simply of Patton, “He is your best.”

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A woman’s right to control her own body seems unquestionable, but what about her unborn child? Personhood is, to some extent, a matter of definition, but from a biological viewpoint, there is only one discernible point where a person is not, and then is. Before conception there is no person. After conception there is a person, or all the genetic potential for a distinctly unique person.

All the other definitions depend on changes that occur over time. We cannot tell when an embryonic circulatory system suddenly has a heart, or an embryonic nervous system suddenly feels pain. Viability has moved from 28 weeks to 22 in my lifetime. The single most important factor in viability of a premature infant is the quality of medical care it receives.

A woman has an absolute right to control whether she becomes pregnant. Space limitations don’t allow for discussion of rape. However, should she conceive through accident, or misjudgment, common decency requires that we, who are also fallible, help her. Pro-abortion extremists don’t seem to want it known, but the pro-life community will pay for the diapers or adopt the newborn, or anything in between.

Jean Grant

Santa Rosa

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MARY McCHESNEY HAS DIED. A full obituary is being prepared. The following article was written some 25 years ago but gives this remarkable woman and her remarkable husband their due. 

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True Bohemians

Artists Robert and Mary Fuller McChesney found peace outside the limelight

by Gretchen Giles

You don't know nothin' about bohemians until you've been to the top of Sonoma Mountain. There, at the end of a treacherous five-mile road winding up from the Petaluma Valley floor, sits the modest one-acre undulation of land that's been tamed, groomed and loved by artists Robert and Mary Fuller McChesney for over 50 years. Given the land in 1952 by friends who hoped to establish an artists colony, the McChesney's home was built by hand, a one-room boho chalet with a kitchen, a sleeping loft and a bathroom that doubles as a shower room. Phone service was slow to come; electricity, a luxury. Empty wine bottles are still recycled by breaking them into the gravel driveway, food is grown just past the hand-built barbecue pit, and there's really not much reason to go back down that treacherous hill at all.

Robert "Mac" McChesney, a painter who came to critical notice during the San Francisco abstract expression movement that followed WW II, died last year at age 95. Now just 87, Mary, a writer and renowned sculptor in her own right, lives alone on their compound, surrounded by hundreds of her playful carved creatures and squat mama figures tucked among the lichen-covered rocks and under the oaks, spread down hillsides and placed by the side of the house, adorned as it is with bone assemblages that Mac created over decades of tramping the local hillsides and carting back deer remains.

The dining room table was made from a piece from the Sturgeon's Mill, which sold four-foot slabs of old-growth redwood for $10 each back in the '50s. ("I wanted to build the house from these boards," Mary says. "But Mac wouldn't go for it." She shakes her head. "Square bastard.") The floor is stone and cement; the only heat from a fire; the view immense. And then there is the tremendous pleasure of settling down at that dining table and listening to an octogenarian repeatedly use the word "fuck."

Despite her age, Mary McChesney isn't old, and hearing her casual swearing is really of no more remark than if she were 27 or 37 instead of 87. To look at her, one wouldn't guess her to be much above 67; to listen to her, well, we're back at 27. A retrospective of Mac's work and some of her own opens June 14 at the Petaluma Art Center.

Mary was Mac's third wife, a marriage that endured and found the couple decamping to Mexico for a year in the late 1940s, living in an artists colony in New Mexico and then back and restless in San Francisco in the early '50s. Mac, who grew up in the country, hated even the provincial confines of San Francisco's city limits. When the chance to take over a rural acre high above Petaluma dropped freely into their laps, the couple grabbed it, even though it was then a three-hour trip from the city, and Highway 101 was little more than two-lane road dominated by thundering logging trucks.

"We had 10 different couples up here," Mary remembers, "and none of them took a spot." With almost no neighbors, the two happily settled into an artistic domesticity that even attracted the attention of Sunset Magazine. The 1953 feature spread on them was eventually killed when the editors determined that their fabulous house with its fabulous views and fabulous occupants was largely illegal.

Mac was the handsome celebrity; Mary, the voluble magnet. He won the Purchase Prize at the Whitney Annual in New York in 1955, first prize at the San Francisco Museum Annual in 1960, showed in Brazil and Japan, had work purchased by the influential Oakland Art Museum and was praised by all the critics of the day. She wrote the first definitive work on the S.F. ab-ex movement, Period of Exploration—hugely relied upon by Dr. Susan Landauer decades later when she penned her influential coffee-table book on the period—supported them by writing mystery novels and eventually became an oral historian, interviewing artists and other notables before embarking on a final career as a sculptor specializing in civic monuments. Their close friends included such art-world stars as Hassel Smith, Agnes Martin, Ad Reinhardt, "Dick" Diebenkorn, Clay Spohn and even the irascible Clyfford Still—all of whom became wildly famous, while Mac did not.

On a recent cool foggy morning, the top of Sonoma Mountain is shrouded in heavy drizzle. Wandering about the dripping sculpture, trying to figure out which of the three structures might be the actual house, a visitor is hailed by Mary, a diminutive woman with a nearly unlined face in a thick sensible sweater standing down by a monument she has created to her late husband. Pictures of his rugged face from different periods of his life have been screened onto metal plates affixed to the cement mixture she regularly carves from.

A studio assistant has fashioned a facsimile of his ever-present cowboy hat out of a chimney cap, a recycling effort which the frugal Mac would have greatly approved of. The Petaluma Art Center retrospective was organized in great part to exhibit Mary's work, but she's having little of it. Her focus is on honoring her husband's oeuvre.

A new widow, McChesney is far from alone. Exhibition curator and self-described "No. 1 fan" Dennis Calabi is there, preparing to go into Mac's studio to choose canvases for the show. Artists Mark Grieve and Ilana Spector, who live just below, are bringing lunch. Their late-spring art dinner for 100 out in the Black Rock Desert was canceled due to electrical storms, and they have a lot of frittata.

"I don't like showing with [Mac]," Mary explains, making tea inside the warm house. "We showed together at Bolles Gallery and there was a big write-up about it and it was all about Mac, and in the last paragraph there was a sentence like, 'And Mary was in the show, too.'"

The phone rings, taking Mary away, and Calabi explains the exhibition's arc. "The theme is 'Fifty Years on Sonoma Mountain,' so we'll start on the early '50s and go up from there. A lot of previous shows have focused on the '40s, but that's the beginning of Mac's work. We'll have several pieces from each time period. From the earlier work to the end, there are repeated themes, personal stories, yet Mac just didn't get stuck in ruts."

Which themes? Calabi pauses and looks around at the art on the walls. "The grid pattern, after the mid-'40s, that continues to the end," he says, gesturing to a piece. "He always used different ways to address it, though. And the bones motif, which occurred before the actual physical use of bones. And, of course, the circle." And indeed, McChesney's canvases pulse with grids and circles—a whole series evoking galaxies—are framed with lines and explore the random beauty of nature.

Calibi explains that McChesney often started with found images—particularly when he taught, using students' discards—and painted out the ungainly stuff, saving just the "happy accidents" before reordering the page. "The Arena series was his most important series," he says. "Very accessible, very remarkable. It's marked by his use of enamel and sand on canvas. They not only speak of everything that's great about his work, but also why he wasn't properly recognized.

"In the '50s, the 'ism' of the time was ab-ex, action painting specifically. He used a subconscious style of composing, thoughtful, meticulous and sort of mystical. All the stuff," Calabi laughs, "that wasn't in vogue. It was an outsider attitude in a world that wants everyone to fit in a box. A commercial weakness but an artistic strength."

Calabi, who is a specialist in conserving and restoring paintings, hopes that the Petaluma show will in some small way rectify Mac's low place on the art-world totem. He is even considering opening his own gallery to sell work by Mac and others whom he feels just never got the recognition they deserve. "If it doesn't have major representation, people think that there must be something wrong with it," he says. "They don't trust their eyeballs."

Speaking specifically of Mac, he says, "He was a major artist, but because of his refusal to move to New York, his prickly personality and robustly Stalinist politics, his heavy drinking and the fact that there were no galleries in San Francisco—he got overlooked. Every region has its group of really hot people who never got the light of day. Mac got fabulous reviews by the best critics of his time.

"If they'd moved to New York, it would have happened."

Grieve and Spector have arrived, bearing unconscionable amounts of food. Mary bustles about the table, making a salad. Everyone's looking hungry. Time to leave. Walking back up the steep sculpture-strewn slope to the car, the visitor can hear Mary clearly from inside the house.

"Let's eat!" she cries lustily.

* * *

Sandra Hahn collecting donations at the Mendocino Peace Fair, June 29 - July 4, 1966. (courtesy Kelley House Museum)

* * *

FRACKING IS INJUSTICE: The High Human and Climate Toll of Fracking and LNG Expansion Exposed!

by Dan Bacher

Recent global, national and state efforts to expand oil and gas production and increase liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports have “dire impacts” on public health and the climate, a major new report authored by the Physicians for Social Responsibility and Concerned Health Professionals of New York reveals. The report, written by doctors and scientists at a time when the federal government is increasing the approval of oil and gas drilling permits across the nation, provides a “critical accounting of the implications of fracking and related activities,” synthesizing findings from over 2,000 scientific studies and government reports, according to a press statement from the two groups.…


  1. Craig Stehr May 6, 2022

    It is 3:52 in the morning at Building Bridges homeless shelter in “haiku spelled backwards” California. Am reading Robert Powell’s “The Blissful Life” about Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj. A prescient quotation: “Stop identifying with your body and your mind, and your problem is solved.” OM

  2. Marshall Newman May 6, 2022

    Thank you, Barbara Rice, for excellent Covid mask guidance. Better safe than sorry.

    The U.S. will officially reach one million Covid deaths in the next week.

  3. Eric Sunswheat May 6, 2022

    In contrast to economic disparity of top paid corporate executives versus line staff, Fentanyl or its analogs, may be conned as trickle down happiness, easily made with inexpensive chemicals, sometimes subverted from China.

    Certain instant antidotes without hospitalization, such as Narcan could be as readily obtainable, as KN95 face masks in a group setting, which is being advocated.

    Law enforcement authorities, due to an inaccurate DEA training manual, has mischaracterized the health science of second hand exposure, which may be from other substances, not synthetic opiates.

    Medical legalization of psilocybin cubensis in Oregon, to reset the human brain from psychological trauma and substance abuse, is moving forward.

    This methodology may provide a therapeutic pathway modality to condition and train workers in reforestation recovery, drought agriculture, and climate transition adaptation.

  4. Nathan Duffy May 6, 2022

    RE: Humboldt and Fentanyl. In my observations, clandestine farming is such a long, isolated and boring process that if you don’t have some sort of program of activities to follow and keep yourself busy many people fall into excessive drinking and partying and that can easily lead to the recreational drugs becoming more and more dangerous. Not to mention the cash profits from the weed and the trading of weed for illicit substances.

    • Kirk Vodopals May 6, 2022

      Agreed. Seems like a big handful of the hill muffin grower community prefers city trips with booze, pills and powder instead of ranch life with their own product. Plus, most of these so-called “moms and pops” are middle aged white men who haven’t had dirty fingernails for over 20 years cuz they consider themselves part of the managerial bourgeoisie now.

    • George Hollister May 6, 2022

      The grower attitude of living in, and embracing the blackmarket is what brought in dangerous drugs, such as fentanyl. This has always been the case, going back to the beginning. Back in the day, it was coke, smack, and speed. Growers who went to jail for growing, the dumb ones, also brought back their criminal jail friends to our communities. There was nothing romantic about any of it, contrary to what some want to believe. If the blackmarket is truly gone, good riddance.

  5. Stephen Rosenthal May 6, 2022

    Re Reader Comment:
    “ She may be mayor, but not for long…”

    Breed is not the one being recalled. Listen to the bells Boudin, they toll for thee.

    • Kirk Vodopals May 6, 2022

      I think you confused V with B. Which reminds me of freshman Spanish class: V de vaca o B de Burro?

      • Whyte Owen May 6, 2022

        Thanks, Burro it is.

    • Mark Scaramella May 6, 2022

      I think you mean Measure B. Measure V is the standing dead trees are a nuisance measure. Neither one has been faithfully implemented, much less tried.

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