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Off the Record (June 1, 2022)

SOME RARE good news out of Ukiah. Ukiah's high school baseball team beat number one seed Marin Catholic, 1-0, in the regional playoffs at Marin Catholic's home field. Ukiah then beat Northgate, a school somewhere in the deep wilds of the East Bay and proceeded to trounce area powerhouse Petaluma, making Ukiah regional champs. Muy bonita black uniforms inscribed 'U-Town,' too. 

THE THREE H's — housing, health care, higher education. Past year home prices up 20%, cost of all goods up 8.5%. Define middle class as middle 60% of American income which is $42,000 - $167,000 for family of 3. College tuition and fees are up 64% since 2001.

Baby boomers and years following WWII a period of USA prosperity that will never be replicated.

Very rich favored in our tax codes.

Adults in their 30s and 40s have less buying power than what we baby boomers had at that age. 

Everybody has and wants more but the party's over.

I WONDER if Trent James and his partisans realize that a lot of people have already voted. A write-in attempt at this point, with only a couple of weeks to go, is futile. James seems kinda impulsive. He also seems to have let the attaboys he gets from his videos go to his head. And he hasn't been entirely candid about what happened with him when he re-applied with the Sheriff's Department. He wasn't shafted or blackballed. In fact, according to the department, he didn't complete the full application process. 

WHICH hasn't deterred James' partisans from claiming that he has revealed widespread corruption in the Sheriff's Department. What he's revealed is a lot of old gossip he heard when he functioned as a deputy. We've heard vague allegations of dope rip-offs for years, but never have we been able to substantiate a single one, although it was Kym Kemp out of Garberville and her fearless Redheaded Blackbelt website that revealed the Zeke Flatten story about how two cops from Rohnert Park were shaking down southbound dope couriers from their late night perch at Frog Woman Rock, Mendocino County. The two RP boys got away with it long enough to seriously enrich themselves. It was December of 2017 when they robbed Flatten of HumCo who would bring them down eventually.

AND I DON'T BELIEVE that these two badged thieves could have gotten away with it for as long as they did without Mendocino County authorities knowing that they often used Frog Woman Rock [Squaw Rock] as their interdiction base. If other cops were involved, I'm sure all will be revealed as the convicted two RP guys bargain for lesser sentences. 

ANOTHER MASS SHOOTING, this one also by a crazed, presumably, 18-year-old, but the second mass murder of small children, the first one on the East Coast, this one in an elementary school in a small border town in Texas. I feel more disgust than outrage that random murder seems to be on the increase, that this lunatic society seems to have begun to eat itself, that the sickness seems way beyond conventional reform like the obvious stipulations that might keep a few guns out of the hands of people so far gone they can gun down children, strangers, their own families. When President Jimmy Carter said he thought the national psychological breakdown was a matter of “malaise,” but that was back when the patient, us, seemed redeemable. Malaise doesn't begin to describe what's happening now, which is a full-on national psychotic break where we can't agree on anything that might at least make life a little more civil, a little less violent, less brutal, for everyone.

HOLD YOUR FIRE while the Boonville weekly announces full support for Archbishop of San Francisco Salvatore Cordileone's barring Nancy Pelosi from Holy Communion because she voted to codify Roe v Wade. Applying the impeccable logic of church doctrine, Cordileone said that a “Catholic legislator who supports abortion commits a manifestly grave sin” and that he wanted Pelosi to “understand the evil she is perpetrating.”

THAT'S RIGHT, your reverence. We'll pass on the accusation of evil, but I ask you, would Rotary International recruit anti-capitalists? Toastmaster's deaf mutes? Baseball played by hop scotch rules? Pelosi belongs to a church where the rules are clearer than clear, then she feigns surprise and complains when God's vicar says, “No exceptions.” 

TUESDAY NIGHT President Biden, during the obligatory post-massacre appearance, asked his national television audience, “Where in God's name is our backbone? We have to act?” Biden's never had a political backbone and he's not going to act, but here's what he should do:

DECLARE a national emergency. “My fellow Americans, our national psychosis has again reached into an elementary school to murder children and their teachers. Given that our society has deteriorated to the point that Americans are no longer safe in any public space or even in their own homes, strong measures to prevent gun violence have become necessary. It does indeed have to stop. I am, therefore, declaring a national emergency with the following stipulations: As of midnight, manufacturers of military assault weapons marketed to the general public are to cease production on pain of imprisonment for up to ten years. Gun sellers must remove all such weapons from their stores and turn them into the nearest police station or face arrest. Americans in possession of weapons designed for military engagement must immediately turn them in to their nearest police station or face arrest. Persons presently in possession of military weapons will be issued buy-back receipts for federal reimbursement. Additionally, ammunition sales will be limited to ten rounds per gun owner per year. No American under the age of fifty will henceforth be allowed to buy or possess a firearm of any kind. Thank you and good night.”

UNTRUTH IN ADVERTISING. The Northcoast's deep pocketed Democrats, got out a saturation mailing for Ted Williams, incumbent 5th District supervisor. Under “Ted's Priorities” the mailer says Ted will be addressing the affordable housing crisis,” in fact a state and national responsibility beyond the limited fiscal abilities of county jurisdictions. And Ted will be working toward “guaranteeing a living wage,” which would mean quintupling the present minimum wage here in Mendocino County where most wage earners earn less than forty thousand a year, pay exorbitant rents if they can find a rental, suffer from the raging inflation the Democrats have done exactly nothing to arrest. And Ted's for “universal broadband access” as we all are but which is far, far off for Mendo. And Ted's “acting on climate change to limit seasonal wildfires.” Move over God. And Ted's “being transparent and accessible to all his constituents.” Not. He won't respond to us at all, not that we feel the loss. 

AS A REGISTERED DEMOCRAT which, at this point I feel is more embarrassing than being a registered sex offender would be, I resent that the Democrats are spending party money ensuring one of their own sits in a theoretically non-partisan supervisor's seat. And we note here that Ted's alleged political stances mirror those of the national party's hacks and hackettes. Few people pay any attention whatsoever to the Mendo supervisors, but we do, and we think Williams, based on his performance in office, does not deserve re-election.

MIKE GENIELLA: Nice article about Jim Eddie in the June issue of the Historical Society of Mendocino County's Journal. Jim, who recently marked his 87th birthday, was interviewed by Laura Hamburg and Kate Magruder. The Eddies have been in Potter since the 1850s, and Jim, a former Mendocino County Supervisor, lives on the family homestead.

IRV SUTLEY WRITES: Powerful Democratic legislator, State Senator Michael McGuire is part of the corrupt Bosco machine.

 McGuire is also attempting to unload the fantasy Pipe Dream of the Great Redwood Trail which I repeat will never be completed and shuffle off the heavy financial debt on to other government agencies which are supported in large part by working peoples' taxes. The Press Democrat has many articles dealing with the Smart train scam running coal to Oakland and the other horrific boondoggle, the “Great Redwood Trail” which is designed to get the support of weak-minded liberals of every political bent.

REST EASY, AMERICA, the San Francisco Unified School District has announced it will remove the word “chief” from its jobs titles after complaints from Native American community members that the term too often was a short-hand denigration of Indians. Seems Frisco is being a tad over-sensitive here. I mean, really, when I see or hear the term “chief fiscal officer” or “crew chief” or “fire chief,” I, a highly evolved liberal (cough-cough), have never before associated the term with Indians.

ACCORDING to a recent Gallup Poll, 83 percent of Americans think the country is headed in the wrong direction. That figure seems a little low. Seriously, do you know a single person who thinks big picture things are going to get better? With Biden? Or whatever lunatic the Republicans come up with? Speaking of America's most high profile victim of elder abuse, Biden described soaring gasoline prices as an “incredible transition.” Wonder what the old boy meant. Transition to what, mass immobility?

WHILE THE SUPERVISORS and Ukiah (of course) ignored the Marbut Report on Mendo homelessness, Fort Bragg paid attention, as described here my mayor Bernie Norvell: “A requirement of receiving funds to operate the Emergency Winter Shelter (EWS) this year from the county was that we collect and enter data on all the clients through the Homeless Management Information System. (HMIS.) The city plans to give an end of season report on the Emergency Winter Shelter that includes information on the clients collected through the HMIS system. The city adopted the Marbut Report as a guiding tool to handle its homeless population as well. A large part of our rules for EWS were developed around the report. For example, limiting the nights available for clients that have not established any sort of residency while offering those same clients an opportunity to relocate closer to home or an area with more resources available. For the clients that could establish local ties they could stay in the shelter but after two nights had to prove enrollment in services that are built to help you up. We also do our best to limit encampments and keep them from becoming an environmental disaster. Just part of what we are up to.”

NOT TO SECOND-GUESS the forces of law and order, but is it really necessary for a thousand armed agents of local, state and federal agencies to all show up at an atrocity site like the Uvalde school?

FOR THE RECORD, historically, the worst school mass murder occurred in Bath, Michigan on May 15, 1927. The 45 dead included 38 children, the Principal, the Superintendent of Schools and 8 teachers. The lunatic was armed with dynamite and a .38 cal. revolver. 

A READER WRITES: In his recent letter, former Sheriff’s Lieutenant Shannon Barney does a good job punching holes in Trent James’s quixotic quest to lead the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office. But Barney gets one thing wrong. James’s application to rejoin the Sheriff’s Office wasn’t turned down. He withdrew it when he learned he would be required to complete the normal background check, including a polygraph examination. If James is as honest and upright as he says he is, why would he object to the background check? Was he afraid he’d be asked about claims he was hanging out at home while on duty? Which ironically is the same issue that he claims lead to one of his targets getting fired. Or was he afraid he’d be asked about his rumored steroid use? In his first video James said how much he loved being a cop but that he was ending his law enforcement career. Which indicates he knew his best chance to stay in law enforcement ended when Mendo insisted on a full background check. What we’re left with is a disgruntled ex-employee out to settle a score with those who he thinks did him wrong.

A READER WRITES: Welcome to politics, Mr. James! After months of dishing out hearsay, rumor and innuendo, newcomer-Sheriff’s candidate and former Covelo cop Trent James finally gets to experience what it’s like to have a few incoming rounds lobbed his way. I find it pretty devastating that this self-proclaimed honest cop demanded a $20,000 “bonus” or he’d quit (per Shannon Barney’s recent letter). In legal terms isn’t that known as extortion? And when he tried to come back to the Sheriff’s Office refused to complete the background check and pulled his application. It’s also very telling that he knew all these allegedly bad things were going on but never said anything until after he failed to pass probation in Willits and after he pulled his application to return to the Sheriff’s Office. His recycled rumors are mostly ancient history, some of it stuff that happened 20 or more years ago and before the people involved were with the Sheriff’s Office. Ironically, he took a couple of them to task for “inappropriate relationships,” but now it’s come out that after arresting a pot grower/dispensary owner for domestic violence, he had an affair with the arrestee’s girlfriend! How professional is that? And there was no coverup of the child porn allegations, an investigation that was correctly handed off to State authorities and they took a long time processing it. It was very revealing that even after the Sheriff’s Lieutenant/father of the alleged perp was completely cleared, James repeatedly said in his video that he thought the Lieutenant might still be guilty. So much for James’s repeated assertions (like five times every video!) that “everything I’m telling you guys is the truth, it’s all documented.” The Sheriff and Jail budget is about $30 million and the Sheriff’s Office has about 200 employees. Trent James has no experience managing a budget or supervising even one employee but he wants to learn at our expense. What he has is a festering grudge because Willits let him go on probation and Mendo wouldn’t take him back without passing a background check. His on line videos should be titled “Sour Grapes of an Ex Cop.”

CHRIS CALDER: I've been substitute teaching elementary and middle school since February. Today I'm at Fort Bragg Middle School. Fort Bragg as a community has known gun violence in the past that I won't go into, only to say that the experience of blank terror and wondering who might be next is not unknown. Four years ago, a high school janitor here was arrested after making threat-sounding comments, and police found an arsenal and body armor in his home. People wonder what it must be like in school these days. Here, it is calm. Purposefully calm. People say hello, look each other in the eye more, smile. I ask for directions to the classroom, four kids step up to give them, not a snark among ’em. Of course there is fear and grief. It's all in how you respond, and people are taking care of each other today.

ONE OF THE WORST FEATURES of the public schools is herding hundreds or even thousands of kids into one place. Another is segregating them by age. As a result, they virtually have no adult influence, since the adults in schools act primarily as police, with no personal relationship with the kids. So the kids bond entirely with each other and get their worldview and values from each other: the immature leading the immature. 

Contrast that setting with homeschooling within an extended family–which is something I’ve seen firsthand, since it’s fairly common around here. The kid grows up being taught by people with a genuine connection with him/her and engaged in learning real skills. I’ve known people who say they learned math from using a roofing square–which is beyond me. I’m told that a roofing square is kind of a crude slide rule.

A READER WRITES: Paul Tichinin (former County Schools Superintendent) has written a letter endorsing Nicole Glentzer over incumbent Superintendent Michelle Hutchins. This is no surprise since Tichinin helped orchestrate Glentzer’s campaign from the start. The insufferably smug Tichinin sleep-walked through 20 years at the top of MCOE mouthing platitudes of the “I’m doing it for the kids” variety while shoveling money to Ukiah based Educrats for junkets, consulting and useless admin positions. Michelle Hutchins, an honest, fair-minded and innovative administrator, deserves re-election in her own right. But Tichinin‘s support should be the kiss of death for Glentzer who has based her campaign on false allegations and insider connections. Glentzer claimed Hutchins had not held a single meeting with local districts about covid. In fact, Hutchins held hundreds of meetings. How could Glentzer be so ill informed? Because she never had a thought of running until Tichinin and his cronies decided they needed a woman candidate if they wanted to have any chance of beating Hutchins. The Ukiah Edu-mob isn’t happy because Hutchins defeated Tichinin’s hand-picked male candidate four years ago. And they especially aren’t happy because Hutchins is using State money the way it’s intended and per the Education Code, to make sure all students (not just those in Ukiah and Fort Bragg Unified) have equal access to educational materials. Tichinin favors Glentzer? That’s a really strong reason to vote for Michelle Hutchins.

HEARTENING to see some big time sports figures speaking out on the social implosion engulfing all of us. You've got Steve Kerr of the Warriors delivering the most passionate denunciation of gun violence we saw during the recent rounds of mass murder, and San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler declaring that he won't come out onto the field for the national anthem “until I feel better about the direction of our country.” Kapler said he'd stood for the anthem the same day 19 kids and two teachers were gunned down in Texas and had observed a brief moment of silence, but then “felt like a coward” for not taking a knee. While “proudly proclaiming ourselves the land of the free and the home of the brave” during the national anthem, he said “we didn’t stop to reflect on whether we are actually free and brave after this horrific event, we just stood at attention.” Kapler said his father taught him to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance “when I believed my country was representing its people well or to protest and stay seated when it wasn’t,” he wrote. “I don’t believe it is representing us well right now.”

MALCOLM MACDONALD: One of the unique characteristics of my book, ‘Mendocino History Exposed,’ is that the NOTES section contains stories within the original stories presented in the twenty-two chapters. One of the best is the inside scoop on two Yuki warriors known as Indian Charley and Billy Malmaquist in the Anglo-American world of the 1800s. To find out their true names and how their fates were intertwined buy your copy of Mendocino History Exposed, read Chapter VII, then take a gander at the notes for that chapter. Mendocino History Exposed is available at two bookstores in Fort Bragg: The Bookstore at 137 E. Laurel St. 707-964-6559 and Windsong at 324 N. Main St. 707-964-2050. Of course, you can always try Gallery Bookshop in Mendocino. 707-937-2665. Try out their easy to maneuver website: gallerybookshop.com.

A LADY called to say that she needed more information about our ballot recommendations, that what we’d published was too sparse. “I need to know more about these people,” she said. Myself, I don’t think I could stand the shock of knowing more than I do, but here goes for you late mail voters and you in-person balloteers:

JUNE is a primary election so the ballot is overstuffed with people literally out of the money it takes to win state office. Our two-party monopoly has plenty of money which, as we know, they get from mostly destructive forces. The AVA tries to avoid endorsing anybody affiliated with either of the two death-bringing parties, instead going for unknown Greens and Peace and Freedom nostalgics. We know absolutely nothing about the following candidates we’ve so blithely voted for: 

CONTROLLER: Laura Wells.

TREASURER: Meghann Adams.

ATTORNEY GENERAL: Dan Kapelovitz.

INSURANCE COMMISSIONER: Nathalie Hrizi

BOARD OF EQUALIZATION: No Preference

GOVERNOR: Luis Javier Rodriguez

LT. GOVERNOR: Mohammed Arif

SECRETARY OF STATE: Gary Blenner

U.S. SENATOR: John Thompson Parker

U.S. SENATOR, PARTIAL TERM: Daphne Bradford

UNITED STATES CONGRESS, 2ND DISTRICT: Anybody but Huffman, a Democrat. A bland party cog out of Marin — Marin! that famous set aside for the politically deluded who think Democrats like Pelosi, Biden, Swalwell, Schiff etc. are the way forward. Huffman’s a blandly inoffensive hack who’ll occupy the seat until the last trumpet melts from global warming.

STATE SENATOR: Not McGuire. McGuire reminds me of my high school second baseman. Iron glove, automatic k — but the coach thought he was a great because he was always yelling and in frenetic motion. McGuire’s the point man for the Great Redwood Trail scam whereby NorCal Democrats have appropriated and partially privatized the old Northwest Pacific Railroad running from Marin to Eureka, which McGuire says will be a hiking, biking path from Mill Valley to Humboldt Bay. Not in a hundred more life times but it keeps the little guy’s press releases front and center in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, whose reporters seem to think the guy’s legit.

ASSEMBLY: Not Wood. A dentist out of Healdsburg, and we’ll pause here for a gratuitous insult, noting that dentists and harpists have the highest incidence of mental illness of all occupations. Not that he’s nuts, but simply one more cipher foisted off on us by the Party. BTW, Wood was on record as opposed to single-payer, to give you an idea of where he’s at.

JUDGE OF THE MENDO SUPERIOR COURT: Shanahan (Unopposed Because It's All One Big Lawyer Club In Mendo)

STATE SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS: Tony Thurmond. Doesn’t matter who occupies that office, really, because… Well, the educational mission needs to be completely re-thought and never will be but Thurmond seems like an amiable fellow who does what he can in a context of irremediable edu-entropy. 

COUNTY SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS: Michelle Hutchins. Vilified and straight-up slandered and libeled throughout the nastiest campaign we’ve seen in this county. The secret slander offensive mounted against Hutchins has been carried out by people “educating” your children.

SUPERVISOR, 5TH DISTRICT: No Recommendation. Based on his performance in office, which nobody in Mendo except the ava pays the slightest attention to, we don’t think Williams has earned another four years in the non-job.

ASSESSOR-CLERK-RECORDER: Katrina Bartolomie. Quietly goes about her duties with an impressive competence, one of several county bureaucrats we’re fortunate to have in place in our otherwise rudderless civic context. (cf the supervisors and county counsel’s office)

AUDITOR-CONTROLLER/TREASURER-TAX COLLECTOR: Chamise Cubbison. Nothing but superlatives for this young woman who stood up to the flak she got from the CEO, the Supervisors and even the DA for demanding public officials account for every penny of their much abused “travel and conference” budgets. Ms. Cubbison is exactly the bean counter we want counting Mendocino County’s beans.

DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Eyster. Despite an unreasoning commitment to lawns, his especially, Eyster is a truly excellent DA. He makes sensible charging decisions and he tries a lot of cases himself rather than contenting himself with bureaucratic matters. He’s not one of these lunatic Trumpian prosecutors we usually find in the California outback and has aroused no opposition from his legal peers because they recognize he does a good job. Mendo’s Defendant Community doesn’t like him, but they’re not supposed to. And they don’t vote.

SHERIFF-CORONER: Kendall. The chimerical candidacy of former deputy Trent James has managed to rally the Coast’s Green Hairs and Nose Rings to falsely malign Kendall via misunderstood gossip passed along by the charismatic James, but Kendall has the unanimous support of his deputies, runs a clean, humane county jail, and makes himself available to all citizens regardless of hair color and facial deformations. He finds himself fending off false charges from chat line snipers too lazy, stupid and dishonest to find out the true facts for themselves.

MEASURE M (ANDERSON VALLEY SCHOOL BOND: Yes. The Boonville schools are falling down. 

ON LINE COMMENTS OF THE WEEK

[1] What you are seeing with your own eyes can best be described as a Cargo Cult. The conveniences that modern technology brings along for the ride are going away. Travel has become exponentially more difficult. The ability to just open your mouth and shovel in whatever you desire is going away. The wonder drugs that made the world safe for our grandparents are going away. You get the point.

Technology allowed for us to act like tattooed obese land whales with purple hair in a land where critical thinking was openly mocked. Everyone can see that tide receding but they all believe that if they just double down on being stupid and retarded then, just like with the Cargo Cults, the technology will remain.

[2] When I was hiking in Bavaria some decades ago, near Andechs, I stopped in a small “Bauernkneipe”— a small room in a farmhouse where you could sit down and order a glass of the farm’s home-made schnapps. Probably this tradition has gone the way of the dodo. 

So the mother was a very striking-looking farm woman, maybe in her forties. Brown hair and blue eyes. Her son, healthy, handsome, same blue eyes, VERY shy. The mom suggested (jokingly, I think . . .) that I consider marrying her son, although by that time I was too old for him (I thought)! I demurred—had a job in NYC!!—but suggested they put an ad in the Wall Street Journal for visitors to their “dude farm.” I reckoned they would get plenty of candidates among frustrated Wall Street bachelorettes who might like to help a sweet young farmer run his farm or at least have a nice rural vacation . . . But it was a job to explain the concept of a “dude farm” to a pair of Bavarian farmers.

[3] Every time someone asks us if Mexico is safe, I say something like “Has the State Dept issued a travel warning yet for the US? Why not?”

My wife, being much more clever than I, succinctly said, “They may be rowing in circles, but they’re all rowing together”.

To really understand just how fucked the US truly is, do yourself a favor and travel somewhere with a mono culture. You know, like Mexico.

The USA represents the pinnacle in competitive achievement; hands down, no question. But that same high strung desire for personal expression and financial success comes with a really high price tag.

When things go south, when the entire rule book is changed, that's when trouble begins. As the noose is tightened and reality really begins to set in, this place is only going to become progressively more dangerous.

[4] In the US today, childhood doesn’t have to end. Peter Pan came to ca. 1954 and we ran off with him to Neverland. We have become more infantilized with each generation since the end of WWII. Talking, dressing, acting like children. No responsibilities, no consequences, no thought for the future. All me all the time.

Neotony – reaching sexual maturity while still in the larval stage. That’s US. Not only have we been sold the lifestyle, as a bonus gift, we get free, unlimited chemical treatment (growth hormones, endocrine disrupters). 

If we aren’t careful, we will become big-headed, small-bodied, gray humanoids hurtling to Earth in oversized pans of Jiffy Pop Popcorn to warn our ancestors: “Don’t become us!”

[5] I recall how, sometime way back in early adolescence, an awareness dawned that I and my cohorts and classmates had been sold a bill of goods. All through childhood, the encompassing myth of American Exceptionalism had been pounded into us, declaring that everything was right, good, and holy about simply being part of the Great Nation, founded on truth, liberty & justice, etc. But as lived experience began to demonstrate the gaping holes in that big promise, a certain cynicism took its place. Ike’s farewell speech confirmed the suspicion that all was not right in the land, and not too long afterwards, JFK got his head blown off on television. It’s been going steadily downhill since. Now we inhabit an open-air mad house.

[6] FENTYNAL, an on-line comment: “This isn’t just the Tenderloin, it's all over the Bay Area and San Francisco went to North Beach and everyone dealing kept saying I got yellow yellow here . So I asked what was yellow? I was told it was the street term for fetty i.e., fentanyl — it’s literally everywhere.”

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