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Mendocino County Today: Monday, June 13, 2022

Sunny Breeze | Faulkner Park | Rose | Yorkville Station | Ridgewood Collision | Courthouse Steps | Regulate Militia | Eel River | Summer School | Oak | Questionable Parenting | Beach Ball | Inflation Poll | Rethink Tax | Symphony Concert | Ed Notes | Woodlands 78 | Policing Report | Covelo | Reading Labels | Eel Canyon | Carley Case | Bridge Painting | SFO Advice | Yesterday's Catch | Burl Art | Great Gatsby | Class of 1896 | Retirement Towns | Inez Philbrick | Dig Timmy | Ukraine | Murder State | Deplorable Schools | Kathleen Selph | Distant Heroes | Rich People | Congressional Hearings | Fish Story | 40 Whacks | Bourgeois Democracy | Mere Spectacle | Baby LeRoy

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COOLER WEATHER is expected again today, but warmer weather will return for Tuesday and Wednesday. A disturbance will bring back cooler temperatures and light rain chances late in the week. Otherwise, breezy northwest winds look to stick around through the middle of the week. (NWS)

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MONITORING WORK AT FAULKNER PARK

Monday, June 13, contractors for PG&E will be conducting work under their Routine Maintenance Program (NOT the Enhanced Program, which is still on Pause). PG&E submitted to the County and gained approval for this tree trimming and cutting at Faulkner Park.  

Most of it seems to be non-controversial.  However, they are planning to cut the dead top off one old growth tree next to the line, and limb up another. Limbing up should not be a problem if done properly. Cutting the dead top is probably ill-advised, but is not likely to harm the tree’s overall health if done reasonably. The sign at the bottom of Mountain View Road advises travel delays on Monday. We don’t know whether this means equipment or simply halting traffic when something could fall on the roadway.

Because there has been so much confusion, including about this Routine Maintenance project, we want to make sure the crew does only the work it is supposed to and does not stray into harming any old growth tree. So we hope to be out there monitoring the work.

Let us know if you see anything that concerns you!

(Friends of Faulkner Park)

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photo by Mary Pat Palmer

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YORKVILLE’S NEW FIRE STATION

Due to the large efforts of the Yorkville Community Benefits Association (YCBA), Scott Hulbert, and the whole community, Yorkville's replacement fire station started construction yesterday! The existing station is very small and is limited to two apparatus that barely fit. The new station will remain on the same property as it always has but will now be large enough to house a new water tender and a wildland engine along with the existing structure engine and quick attack. Take a look next time you are driving through Yorkville!

(AV Fire Department Presser)

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THREE VEHICLE COLLISION ON HWY 101 NEAR WILLITS THIS MORNING

Details are limited this morning, but a dramatic traffic collision near the Ridgewood Summit south of Willits left a California Highway Patrol SUV mangled, a pickup truck damaged along Highway 101, and an unidentified vehicle at the bottom of a cliff.

kymkemp.com/2022/06/12/three-vehicle-collision-on-hwy-101-near-willits-this-morning/

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Mendocino Courthouse Steps

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WHAT TO DO ABOUT GUN VIOLENCE IN AMERICA?

I heard former Justice Warren Burger state that “The gun lobby’s interpretation of the Second Amendment is one of the greatest pieces of fraud, I repeat the word fraud, on the American People by special interest groups that I have seen in my lifetime.”

Amendment II: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State; the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed 

What is a well regulated militia, and how exactly does that relate to infringing the right to bear arms?  Are assault weapons in the hands of a well regulated militia necessary for a free State?  Does it mean the state of an individual? Or the state in which our residence is located? Or does it mean all governments, federal, state and local? 

A well regulated militia brings to mind men marching in formation to the commands of a sergeant. What if we use the 2nd Amendment to design our gun ownership regulations? 

  • Create regulations to license local militias.  Keep records of their membership. 
  • Make it mandatory to be a member of a well regulated militia in order to own a firearm

People assert that you don’t need an assault rifle for hunting. But the 2nd Amendment refers to protecting the security of the free State.  So, banning assault weapons on the grounds that they are not needed for hunting violates the 2nd Amendment and therefore is a weak argument. 

I assert that if the 2nd Amendment implies that the people must protect the free State with well-regulated militias, then that should be a requirement for gun ownership. 

This brings to mind Switzerland, which has no standing army.  Instead, every healthy male aged 18-50 must serve in a well-regulated militia.  Every man has to serve 2 years after high school, and then 6 weeks per year for the rest of his life until age 50, while disabled people are required to serve in other ways.  Women may serve voluntarily in the militias. The people keep their government issued uniforms and firearms at home.  Switzerland is defended by a well-regulated militia.  Mass shootings in Switzerland are non-existent. 

— Robin Sunbeam, Ukiah

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Eel River

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SUMMER SCHOOL NEWS

Dear Anderson Valley Community,

We had a wonderful end to the school year with many milestone transition ceremonies for grades sixth, eighth, and our senior class. Our community members awarded more than $200,000 in scholarships. What a beautiful week made extra special by the love and care that our parents and families showed in turning out for our students and also creating the beautiful decorations to make the memory even more special.

Regarding the school facilities bond measure, Measure M, we remain positively optimistic about the vote count. We were polling very well at the close of election evening and we understand that additional results will not be released for a couple of weeks. It is very hard to wait but I want to thank again the many teachers, staff members, and community members that took their time to help support the information related to the deep infrastructure needs of our campus. We hope to be able to review final results within that two week time frame.

For our Junior and Senior High parents, please mark your calendar for a welcome-back dinner for parents/guardians on Thursday, August 18th between 5:30 and 7 at the gym. This is a required dinner for at least one member of each family to participate if your student plays in sports. All families are welcome and encouraged to attend but this is a requirement for our families with a student in Athletics. We are grateful to our new Athletic Director John Toohey and look forward to hearing more about the schedule including the return of the Redwood Classic.

This is an adult only evening and we will provide a light dinner in the gym. We look forward to seeing you. We will be reviewing the new requirements for sports play that include the normal health and release paperwork, academic requirements, as well as behavior and citizenship. There will also be a presentation from an MCOE Drug Educator and an opportunity for you to ask questions about the types of substances and devices that are currently prevalent. I want to recognize that we live in a county that has legalized Cannabis. That is not what this is about. My goal is to make sure that my students are alert and able to learn while they are at school and sports; and especially, that they are safe and keep their classmates safe when engaging in sporting activities because they are not impaired. Again, this is a required meeting for all parents/guardians of students involved in sports at any time in the year.

We need help to rebuild our athletic programs, and we look forward to connecting and visiting with you!

Covid testing regulations for next year are still evolving from the state. The cost of the pooled testing will no longer be paid for by the state, so it is likely we will rely on home test kits. We have ordered two thousand in preparation for school start.

Summer school will begin soon! The big top is already up on the elementary grounds and our partners with Keystone will be introducing some art, video, and cosmetology/barbering activities at the jr./sr. high school.

Our club list at the high school for after school is growing and we need people to host a club that have expertise in art, music, video gaming, sewing and cooking. There is a supply budget and the once a week 75-minute sessions run for six weeks. This is a great way to volunteer some time for your school community and make a meaningful connection with kids. Fingerprint clearance is required. Email me at lsimson@avpanthers.org if you have any questions.

Have a safe and happy summer! 

Take care,

Louise Simson, Superintendent, Anderson Valley Unified School District

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Covelo Oak

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AS THEIR CHILD LOOKED ON, Ukiah Couple Allegedly Assaulted a Man With Machete and Broomstick 

On June 9th, 2022, Ukiah Police Department investigators determined that a Ukiah man and woman ganged up on a man outside the Royal Motel using a machete and broomstick leaving the victim hospitalized with facial lacerations. 

Lieutenant Andrew Phillips confirmed that 43-year-old Ronald Feagin and 26-year-old Amy Woolsey have been booked into the county jail for their suspected involvement in the crime. Feagin faces attempted murder charges and Woolsey is accused of assault with a deadly weapon.

Aggravating an already brutal circumstance, Lieutenant Phillips disclosed that a child of Faigen and Woolsey’s watched the incident in its entirety and was released to Child Protective Services as a result.

mendofever.com/2022/06/12/as-their-child-looked-on-ukiah-couple-allegedly-assaulted-a-man-with-machete-and-broomstick/

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LIFE’S A BEACH SO LETS HAVE A BALL

by Captain Rainbow

The AV Grange needs a fund raiser. Lacking our usual biggest fundraiser of the past 29 years , The Variety Show, we have cooked up a hum dinger of an event. On THIS Sat. June 18th. The Grange will be transformed into a fabulous beachside paradise (we nixed the sand). Come early to catch Jays delicious rib dinners outside (limited meals available). Join in the spirit wearing whatever your “formal Beach attire” might be and enter to enjoy local beer and wine at the Tiki Bar, hosted by the Lions Club. Bring ID, those Lions are going to check. In the dining hall Grangers will have prepared lots of yummy snacks and drinks. Take your time to peruse the Silent Auction with all kinds of locally donated offerings. Get a photo of yourself shooting the curl on a long board, and the notorious Rafflettes and Raffleers will be swimming through the crowd selling tickets for the 50 50 raffle in the break between the bands.

Speaking of bands, are you kidding me? Mama Grows Funk is on at 8 and Boonfire follows after the raffle. Need we say more? Our 2 local bands are going to rock the beach til midnight. It is shaping up to be an amazing night .

So far our locals have been so generous in donating to The Ball and we hope that everyone who comes will be in that same generous spirit. But we intend to give you a great time for your support! Bring lots of cash, though we will accept checks and credit/debit cards are acceptable, but cash is king.

We want to have a great time while supporting our community hall. We also want to have a SAFE time too. So, out of respect for each other and our whole community we encourage everyone to get vaxed, get boosted and get tested before coming. 

Free “official” rapid tests at the AV Health clinic every Thurs. 9-11, 3-4:30. We also are encouraging masks and snorkels, well maybe just masks, but whatever floats your boat. Masks will be available at the door. Windows will be open, fans will be blowing, and we are gathering up Hepa filter machines to be running throughout the hall.

Oh, by the way, with all those fans blowing you might want to bring a little something warmer to go over those speedoes or bikinis. The bands will be hot but the temp not.

Presale tickets are available at AV Market, Boont Berry Farm and Lemons market in Philo. Of course tickets will be at the door as well.

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COUNTY BOARD SHOULD RETHINK SALES TAX MEASURES

We think the Board of Supervisors should think twice before deciding to put sales tax measures on the November ballot.

The board is talking about putting a measure on the ballot raising sales taxes to pay for fire services and a new iteration of a county water agency.

While we don’t argue that local fire services need more funding, we disagree that the taxpayers should fork over money to pay for a water department that is not defined with no concrete mission.

Above anything else, local residents, like everyone across the nation is suffering from high prices due to inflation. The last thing anyone needs is more sales taxes. Yes, we know that the Measure B tax will be going down a bit as dictated by its language, but that’s no reason to immediately take those savings and use them to raise more taxes.

Add to that, the local Friends of the library are planning a sales tax measure on the next ballot. Pitting libraries against fire services is not fair and any ballot with two tax measures on it will likely see voters saying no to both.

The county should be looking at finding more fire funds all the time and we are not convinced that they have spent county money wisely enough to claim there isn’t any room for fire services in the current budget.

As for a water agency, we tried that already and it failed. Until the county can define what that means in detail and what power that agency would actually have to do what specific tasks — and why shoppers should pay for the costs of local growers — we think it’s too early to ask the taxpayers to fork over for it.

(K.C. Meadows, Ukiah Daily Journal Editor. Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal.)

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SYMPHONY of the REDWOODS PRESENTS A CELEBRATION CONCERT

Symphony of the Redwoods is thrilled to return to Cotton Auditorium on Saturday, June 25th and Sunday, June 26th, 2022. Guest conductor Phillip Lenberg will lead the orchestra in an exciting program featuring Abigail Rowland Strock, soprano. The program will include works by Mozart, Dvorak, Schubert, and more!

Come early and enjoy a 30-minute pre-concert lecture (Sat 6.30pm / Sun 1pm). Masks and proof of Covid-19 vaccination are required.

Advance tickets may be purchased at Out of this World in Mendocino, Harvest Market in Fort Bragg or online at BrownPaperTickets.com.

symphonyoftheredwoods.org/concert-0.php

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ED NOTES

A PAIR of organizational wizards risked the geriatric clutter of the Boonville newspaper office last week to talk about the many advantages of the Anderson Valley Village, our very own mutual aid society for older people gestating inside the larger community of Anderson Valley. 

LAUREN KEATING and Anica Williams are putting us older people in touch with others of comparable years and experience, however varied our experience may be, by providing not only community, but much practical assistance for people of a certain age, of whom there are many in the Anderson Valley.

IN ADDITION to help with rides and errands, The Village also maintains a roster of younger people with practical skills like tech help and in-home repairs. 

WE ALL KNOW and admire Lauren, an organizational prodigy of D-Day logistical gifts, and we’re getting to know Anica, a native daughter of Elk appropriated to coordinate The Village’s growing community. For a person who works at this formidable task only a few hours a week, Anica manages not only to get the practicalities done she does it with an optimistic, smiling charm that makes organizing a village of, uh, independent elders look easy.

WHAT’S THE DIFF between the Senior Center and The Village? Lauren clarifies that “We’re complementary organizations, not competitors. We’ll be sharing the same site at the Senior Center and there is a lot of crossover members of both, of course, but our aim is to reduce the isolation many older people find themselves in to create a community of people whose age has left them feeling stranded in a society that does tend to isolate older people. A lot of people misunderstand what we’re about; we’re not hospice but a community that offers a variety of practical assistance to our members.”

VEERING from the abstract to the specific, Lauren adds, “By the way, the senior lunch is a bargain many people are unaware of at $6 for seniors, $7 non-seniors. Lunch at noon sharp. I was there for lunch the other day [Tuesdays and Thursdays] when they served 11 people to sit down meals with 20 meals to go. People are still nervous about covid so they get the to-go lunch.”

(THE Senior Center is a crucial local community service overseen by yet another super-capable woman, Renee Lee. If the Anderson Valley declares itself a matriarchy, we are fortunate indeed in our matriarchs.)

ANICA clarifies, “At present there are 64 Villagers and 42 noble souls signed up to volunteer as helpers. We are gaining new members faster than we’re gaining new volunteers. People can be both.”

LAUREN SUGGESTS, “People say, ‘I’ve heard about you guys but I don’t need support yet.’ Don’t wait until you do need support. I get that you might feel and be entirely independent, but it’s never too early to join a congenial group of neighbors you may not have known. And it’s a good thing that the kids of parents who remain at home in The Valley and want to stay here see that their elders can remain in place right here with an active community in support.”

WHICH is the Anderson Valley Village.

AS post-covid life returns to the Anderson Valley, it’s a testament to the patient enthusiasm of these two ladies that even two years of zoom gatherings has not dampened enthusiasm for The Village, a very large village stretching from Yorkville to Navarro, west up Greenwood and Mountain View, and all points in between.

ALL THIS and in person dinners coming up in July at the Senior Center.

INTERESTED? Call Anica at 707 684-9829 or email her at andersonvalleyvillage@gmail.com

www.andersonvalleyvillage.org

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Mendocino Woodlands, 1978

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ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY

“Sheriff Kendall reported that two new-hire deputies have graduated from the Police Academy in Windsor. One more new deputy is coming, who has been mentored by Lt. Jason Caudillo. The Sheriff’s office is not able to patrol Redwood Valley as much as they would like because of the volume of drug problems and behavioral health issues around the Motel 6 area, and Brush Street in Ukiah. Lt. Caudillo reported that new apartments in Ukiah specifically intended to provide housing to people with addiction and behavioral health issues are generating a lot of calls to the Sheriff. The homeless camp on Brush Street is generating a high volume of calls. Social workers from four or five agencies regularly visit the camp in an attempt to enroll people in social services, but they don’t have much luck getting people signed up, resulting in more calls to law enforcement. Lt. Caudillo is working with Second District Supervisor Mo Mulheren to clean up this area. He contacted the California Conservation Corps and was quoted $208,000 in fees to clean up the camp because it includes hazardous waste, needles, and human waste.”

— Monica Huettl, Summary of the June 8 Redwood Valley Municipal Advisory Council meeting (via MendoFever)

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FREE LABEL READING CLASS, June 21, 4:30-6:00 PM

Dear Friends,

I signed up for this free online label reading class. I hope you will consider signing up as well. I have heard Jeff Novick speak in person, and this class will be worth attending. Please see below for registration link.

Blessings and have a healthy day!

Petra Schulte, Nutrition Educator, 707-397-5575

Lesson in Label Reading: How to Choose the Healthiest Foods 

Are you sure the “healthy” food you are buying is actually healthy? How do you know? Do you look at the numbers? Do you look for certain claims such as healthy, natural, organic, unprocessed, or plant-based? 

Most consumers say they read labels to select healthy foods and limit excess calories, fat, sugar, and salt. Yet, research shows that the majority of products we buy are ultra-processed and high in calories, fat, sugar, and salt. This includes many plant-based products. All of this represents a huge disconnect between what we think is healthy and what really is. Have you been fooled? 

In this talk, we will take a close look at the food label, learn how to identify what is most important, set some healthy guidelines, and learn a quick and easy system to evaluate products. Join us for this fun and informative talk, which contains generous servings of health-building information and nourishing fun. After this class, you won’t be fooled again! 

“Jeff Novick's rendition of food labeling is unparalleled in its clarity and thoroughness. No one has a better insight into the folly of food advertising.” - T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2022, 7:30-9:00pm EDT

Free with optional donation 

Register for the webinar here: https://rochesterlifestylemedicine.org/events/events-lifestyle-as-medicine/#!event/2022/6/21/lam

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Deep in the Eel River Canyon

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A READER WRITES: 

The recent L.A. Times article on Amanda Carley, the former probation officer who is suing the county and her ex-common-law husband current Ukiah Police Chief Noble Waidelich, bears out several truisms related to domestic violence. 

First, victims become enmeshed in abusive relationships and find it difficult to leave. From the story: “she found herself trying to leave him, one failed attempt after another.” 

Second, when questioned, victims often deny the abuse occurred or initially report it only to deny it later. Reasons include fear of retaliation, loss of financial support, family embarrassment, children, alcohol/drugs, falling for the perpetrators assurances of true love, their own possible contributions to the disputes, or a belief that it’ll never happen again. 

Carley, the alleged victim in this case, denied any abuse when it was reported to the Ukiah police in 2013 and again in 2015 when it was reported to the Sheriff’s Office. Only later did she say she was a victim of abuse. 

The case also shows the stakes are higher for law enforcement officers convicted of domestic violence or those who first deny and then report it. Cops convicted of felony domestic violence lose the right to own a gun, which means they lose their job. In this case that created an incentive for both parties to conceal the abuse, if in fact it occurred. Him to keep his job, her to protect him, since she was still in the relationship. 

The LA Times story quotes D.A. Eyster declining to prosecute because “the alleged victim is less than cooperative and presents as less than credible.” The LA Times story also says some of the allegations were “too vague to prosecute.” But the story left out important qualifiers. The DA’s full explanation was “some of the allegations were outside the statute of limitations and the more recent ones were too vague to prosecute.” In other words, there was insufficient evidence to file criminal charges, especially with an uncooperative witness lacking in credibility. 

The case might have ended there except Eyster, faced with evidence the alleged victim had been untruthful — by first denying, then alleging abuse had occurred — placed her on the Brady list; a list of law enforcement officers suspected of lying. thus disqualifying them from testifying in criminal prosecutions. That effectively ended Carley’s ability to do her job. It also set in motion the harassment and retaliation alleged in her civil lawsuit which claims conspiratorial actions by the County, Waidelich, Eyster and others. 

Eyster successfully sued to be removed from the case. After sitting in the courthouse basement for several years, the case is now headed for trial.

Any alleged abuse occurred at least seven years ago. The alleged coverup and harassment occurred at least six years ago. It’ll be interesting to see what evidence can be produced in what is mostly a he said/she said series of allegations. 

Noble Waidelich is now Ukiah Chief of Police, but was just another cop when the star crossed relationship began and ended. It’s not made clear in the LA Times story, but Waidelich was never employed or promoted by the County of Mendocino. Nor did he ever face criminal charges. But now, at least seven years after any alleged abuse occurred, Carley’s civil suit is scheduled to proceed.

From the case coverage by Mendofever: "Lawsuit Filed by Ex-Fiancé of Ukiah Police Chief Alleging Abuse and a Conspiracy to Discredit Her Proceeds to Jury Trial"

“…But Deputy County Counsel Brina Blanton protested that the short notice for the upcoming trial was ‘punishing the defendants,’ especially since an attorney is leaving her office, and she will be forced to dedicate all her working hours to discovery in the case. Nadel informed her that she herself had previously served as county counsel, with fewer attorneys in the office than there are now, and that she had been ‘very aggressive’ in defending the county. ‘I know your boss is here,’ she said, of County Counsel Christian Curtis’ presence. She told them that ‘The absence of Eyster affects your case,’ without elaborating how, and that there were instances when she, in their position, had worked hard and ‘wiped out the plaintiff’.”

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Painting the Golden Gate Bridge, 1956

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GETTING TO SFO

Adriane Nicolaisen asked: I am considering flying out of SFO in the Fall and I wondering what to do about how to get there. I’m considering being gone for nearly 4 weeks so parking my car would start to be expensive. Are there hotels that are known to offer free parking for such an extended period of time? Does anyone have experiences to share. Thanks. Please answer off list.

David Herstle Jones: Get a rental. Drive to airport and leave it. There is a tram from the rental places to the airport. On return get a rental to return.

Pauline Jones: One way car rentals charge a higher fee. Definitely more convenient. Footlighters Bus. Leaves daily from Fort Bragg at 6:30 am. Route to Sonoma airport transferring to S.F. Returns daily at 3:30. A long day. Cost is low. Google for phone number.

Wendy: Airporter from SR airport to SFO or Oakland is now $40 each way. David’s idea of two one-day car rentals makes a lot of sense, especially if more than one person is traveling.

Dobie Dolphin: A friend was gone for 3 weeks this past winter and left her car at the parking lot where the Airporter Bus stops in Petaluma. She said she always leaves it there when she flies. You might want to call and check that out.

Phyllis Coppage: Recently returned to SFO to find our catalytic converter cut from our car at Travel Lodge's parking lot. I'd choose a place that has a fenced and gated lot.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, June 12, 2022

Anello, Cleek, Huerta

JARRETT ANELLO, Ukiah. DUI no license, child endangerment.

DENESA CLEEK, Willits. Controlled substance for sale, tear gas, saps/similar, evidence tampering, conspiracy.

LUIS HUERTA-MERINO, Ukiah. Domestic abuse, protective order violation, damaging communications device.

Lee, Lopez, Manzo

WILLIAM LEE, Willits. Controlled substance for sale, forge-alter vehicle registration, conspiracy, failure to appear.

MIGUEL LOPEZ, Ukiah. Felon with firearm.

LUIS MANZO-GARCIA JR, Ukiah. Protective order violation, probation revocation.

Quadrio, Solomon, Taylor

NATHANIEL QUADRIO, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

SARAH SOLOMON, Eureka/Ukiah. DUI-alcohol&drugs, under influence.

DEREK TAYLOR, Applegate/Fort Bragg. DUI, resisting.

Underhill, Warner, Wilson

ELAINA UNDERHILL, Fort Bragg. Taking vehicle without owner’s consent, probation revocation.

MICAH WARNER, Willits. DUI, suspended license.

JENNA WILSON, San Jose/Ukiah. Secretly recording an identifiable person without consent or knowledge to arouse, etc.

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EDGEWATER GALLERY JULY FEATURED ARTIST: GREG BURDICK, creator of redwood burl art

Friday, July 1, 5-8 and continuing through July 31

Admission is free. Light refreshments served. Masks optional.

Greg has been collecting redwood burls and cutting tables for forty years, saving the best of the best. Upon retirement, Greg is using these very special pieces to create one of a kind tables, bowls, sculptures and wall hanging art. For more information about Greg and his art, go to: www.edgewater-gallery.com

Edgewater Gallery, 356 N. Main Street, Fort Bragg

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BILL KIMBERLIN: My vote for the great American novel. If you haven't read it, find it and read it.

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MENDOCINO COUNTY HISTORY: UKIAH HIGH’S FIRST GRADUATION CEREMONY IN 1896

by Jody Martinez

Friday, June 12, 1896, Mendocino Dispatch Democrat

Marks’ Opera House was never so well filled as it was last Friday evening on the occasion of the commencement exercises of the Ukiah High School, when the class of ’96 – the pioneer class – graduated.

Seymor Marks Opera House is shown as it looked circa 1892. (Photo courtesy of the Robert J. Lee Collection – from the Taylor family)

The stage was beautifully decorated with ferns and flowers, and black and gold bunting – the High School colors, and was brilliantly lighted. But the most beautiful sight of all was the bevy of handsome young ladies and stalwart young men who formed the graduating class.

And as a fitting background for all was the well chosen class motto, “We Work to Win.”

Ethel Poage

Ethel Poage graduated from Ukiah High School in June 1896, as part of the school’s pioneer class. She was the class historian. In 1903, she married attorney W.D. Held and the couple moved into their new home across from the Presbyterian Church at Perkins and Dora streets. Today their home is the headquarters of the Historical Society of Mendocino County. (File photo – courtesy of Lila Lee)

…The historian of the class, Miss Ethel Poage, portrayed in her very able style the history of the class during its three years career. Her paper was interspersed with many witicisms that furnished amusement to both her classmates and the audience. It was exceptionally clever throughout and sustained Miss Poage’s well-known reputation for originality and good taste in matters of this kind.

…As Miss Poage humorously depicted the history of the class so Miss Florence Handy, the prophetess of the class, quite as humorously prophesied its future, weaving in her discourse many local bits. Ukiah in ten years, according to this prophetess, is to be a bustling city of 40,000 people, and among her leading citizens will be members of the pioneer class.

…In response to calls Prof. Babcock, principal of the Ukiah High School, addressed the audience. His face shone with pride as he pointed to the class of ’96 as a sample of the good work done in the institution of learning over which he has presided for three years. He concluded his address with an appeal to our people to give the high school their warm support.

(courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal)

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ASSIGNMENT: UKIAH - THE PERFECT RETIREMENT TOWN

by Tommy Wayne Kramer

Retirees who want to move are always looking for a cute little village anchored by a vibrant downtown with lots of trendy bars and restaurants, and fun places to shop. Not us.

The nearest Starbucks is so far away I don’t know where it is. The best restaurant in town is a tiny grocery store, kinda like Ukiah’s old Wildberger’s, with a small counter off on the side to order sandwiches.

There’s one bar in town but it’s not really a bar. It doesn’t have bartenders or barmaids. It’s a big room with 30 or so beer spigots sticking out of stainless steel walls and operates like a vending machine. Among the many things the “bar” doesn’t have is a jukebox, bourbon, wine, or customers. Enjoy drinking alone in a warehouse? I found it.

Weather’s pretty good. The winters here are cute, especially if you’ve ever spent a February in Cleveland. Adorable, really. And summer brings lightning bugs, one of nature’s finest novelty acts.

Nature? There are more birds per square inch here than anywhere but an aviary. A big aviary. There are several million birds in this neighborhood alone, which means about a hundred thousand in my back yard. They all get squawking a few hours before dawn and between the chirps and the peeps and the tweedle-de-dees you can hardly hear yourself scream Knock it off already!!

Next, humidity in the South. Humidity is tiny atoms of moisture that gather silently on the back of your neck, then partner with other molecular levels of wetness until, millions of molecules and 10 seconds later, they form a fat sweaty blob that joins hundreds of others, then slides down your spine into your undies and enters the deep, hot, butt-crack puddle that makes summer here so stinkin’ fun amid the mosquitoes and boll weevils.

All this and lots of other things are part of the complicated process of moving. Some, like buying ketchup or bedsheets, is no different in California than North Carolina; other aspects of our new life are more unsettling.

Dogs, for instance. In Ukiah dogs are treated as minor deities and are better nourished, better housed and get better medical care than the average citizen. In our new town most dogs are very well cared for by their owners. But not all dogs. Ahem.

Let’s sidestep diplomacy and suggest some dogs are treated as if they’ll be butchered and eaten next week, their pelts sold for seat covers. The brutal reality is that some dogs live on chains in back yards. Lucky ones have dog houses.

If owners simply want something moving around in a small area of the backyard, why not get a Roomba with a collar?

Food is also on the list of differences.

If you want dinner out don’t arrive later than 7 p.m. unless you plan to sleep in your car for breakfast tomorrow. Dining spots close by 8 o’clock (!!) except fast food joints near freeway ramps.

And fast food in NorCal is different in NorCaro. Fewer McDonald’s here, and Taco Bells and Round Table Pizza are pretty rare. If you want chicken you’ve come to the right part of the world; poultry choices are many. This is all moot. Wife Trophy is a full-on Italian foodophile and cares little for dining options unless they include exotic dishes I can’t pronounce paired with wines I can’t afford.

Oddity: we live a bit south of the booming metropolis of Charlotte and our bleak speck of a city is surrounded by cutesied-up towns full of antique shops, hep restaurants, BBQ joints and brew houses.

These cities have white twinkie lights strung through trees, blues festivals six days a week and half a dozen real estate shops on every block. They are the popular, exciting, go-to spots I‘ve spent my entire life avoiding.

Once these charming villages are “discovered” real estate prices rise to the point where a really nice home in a desirable location is priced at almost half what a crummy house in a bad neighborhood costs in Ukiah.

This surge has not yet happened in our little burg. Big houses that once starred in Gone With the Wind remain reasonably priced, meaning less than Laytonville doublewides. There will inevitably be a real estate spike and we’ll know it’s here when a Whole Foods or Volvo dealership opens on the outskirts of town.

But by then I’ll be dead and my dear wife will be living in Italy with an unemployed gondolier pilot enjoying La Dolce Vida, courtesy of my life insurance policy.

(Tom Hine and his charming wife Trophy have partially half-moved to Las Carolinas. He’s a retired journalist and private investigator. TWK is his imaginary friend and typing assistant.)

* * *

JUNE 12, 1885 - INEZ MILLIKEN PHILBRICK was born in Mendocino, the third of six children born to James and Lizzie Milliken. Inez grew up in Mendocino, graduating from Mendocino High School in 1904. After attending San Jose Normal School (now San Jose State University) to obtain her teaching degree, she returned to Mendocino County to teach in the local schools. Inez married John Philbrick in 1909 and moved to a ranch in Comptche.

Graduates of Mendocino High School Class of 1904. From top to bottom: James Hurley, Jesse Lemoine, Stella Bever, Inez Milliken, M. E. Vaughn, Meta Browne, James Cooney.

In the early 1970s, Inez wrote a memoir that includes family history and many descriptions of her life as a child and young woman. She titled it, “A Book That Has No End,” but perhaps it should have been titled “Work That Has No End.” Here are some excerpts from her book:

Childhood

...Mother was the cleanest housekeeper I have ever seen… She had a regular schedule, and Heaven or High Water couldn’t change it one bit.

- Saturday was wash day…

- Sunday was rest day. Sunday School, Church twice a day, Christian Endeavor after we had graduated from Junior Endeavor…

- Monday was ironing day… Five girls with petticoats, panties, corset covers, dress of calico or percale, table mats, sheets (ironed), pillowcases, and shams changed once a week made up to a lot of ironing…

- Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were for darning, patching, crocheting petticoats…

- Friday she cleaned every inch of every room upstairs - from stem to stern.

After Marriage and Children

...Eight meals most days all summer.

- Breakfast for Kelly Wellman, G.M.C. truck driver at 5 a.m.

- At 6 a.m., hired man and tie makers or shingle bolt makers (after Donald took over the ranch).

- 8 a.m., breakfast for teacher and my children and whatever children the teacher had brought.

- Truck driver home at 11 a.m. for dinner.

- 12 a.m. for farmhands and children before they started school.

- 5 p.m. supper for teacher and children and mine.

- 6 p.m. for anyone who hadn’t eaten.

- Somedays another supper for John who used to stay out in the field to get ready for the work the hired men would be waiting to do. Then it would be a 9 p.m. supper. Two wood stoves going until the corn or beans had boiled three hours.

(Kelley House Museum)

* * *

* * *

UKRAINE, SUNDAY JUNE 12 by Daryna Antoniuk, Forbes

Kharkiv. Russian troops bombed a children’s camp in Kharkiv Oblast, damaging three buildings. No casualties were reported.

Dnipro. A Russian rocket hit the Dnipropetrovsk region on Sunday, destroying one house and killing one woman.

Ternopil. Four Russian missiles, fired from the Black Sea, hit the city of Chortkiv in the Ternopil region destroying part of a military facility and damaging four residential buildings. The attack injured 23 people, including a child.

Luhansk. Russian troops have destroyed 26 buildings in the Luhansk Region over the last 24 hours.

A six-year-old child died in the Russian shelling of Lysychansk in Luhansk Region on Sunday, according to Serhii Haidai, head of the Luhansk Oblast Military Administration.

Donetsk. Russian troops killed 1 civilian and wounded 3 others in Donetsk Oblast on Sunday.

Russia’s artillery attacks also hit a thermal power plant in Donetsk Oblast, causing a fire on its territory.

Zaporizhzhia. The Russian Education Ministry said that children from the occupied cities in Zaporizhzhia Oblast will study the Russian school curriculum from Sept. 1. 

Sievierodonetsk. Overnight, Russian troops destroyed the second of three bridges leading to Sievierodonetsk. The third bridge is under attack and in danger of collapsing. This bridge is the only way for people to get out of the city.

“The Russians are throwing all their forces at "cutting off" Sievierodonetsk. The next two or three days will be important,” said Serhii Haidai, head of the Luhansk Oblast Military Administration.

Former British soldier Jordan Gatley was shot dead in combat in the Ukrainian city of Sievierodonetsk. Gatley, 24, went to Ukraine to help fight Russian forces and train Ukrainian soldiers.

“It takes a lot of courage to leave home and go a thousand miles to defend what you believe in,” said Mykhailo Podoliak, an adviser to the head of the Ukrainian President’s Office. “Jordan Gatley was a true hero," Podoliak said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky won the Boris Nemtsov Prize for Courage. “Zelensky remained in Kyiv and decided to defend his homeland together with his people. He showed courage," said the founder of the award Zhanna Nemtsova.

More than 32,000 Russian soldiers were killed in Ukraine since the start of the invasion. Russian forces have also lost 3,484 armoured combat vehicles and 226 multiple rocket launchers.

The UN commission visited the Kyiv region on Sunday to investigate war crimes. The commission will carry out its first mission in Ukraine through June 16.

* * *

* * *

KIDS THESE DAYS

Editor: 

Recently, while I waited in line, I overheard a man talking about the deplorable conditions at the high school his son attends. “To start,” he said, “there are fights every day.” He mentioned his son’s comments about students “making out” behind the buildings while others watch and laugh. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

A few days later, I saw my friend who works in a middle school in Santa Rosa. “Is it true that things are bad these days in our schools?” I asked.

“I’m thinking about retiring,” my friend said. “It’s a very stressful situation, and I feel sorry for parents who have lost control of their youngsters. Problematic students have no respect for anyone.” After a silent moment, she confided, “I try not to show my fear when students enter the office.”

We blame the pandemic for our problems, and although some parents work long hours, they can dedicate a few minutes to listening to their kids’ stories, fears and what happens in school and give them encouragement.

Our social ills would be cured if adults, starting with parents and leaders at all levels, exercised good manners, showed respect for everyone and gave education due importance. Our schools would be the havens needed for our children.

Yolanda Vera Martinez

Santa Rosa

* * *

FOR 27 YEARS, MRS. CANNON SAYS SHE HAS REMAINED SILENT, watching over and over as her daughter showed up in photographs on a motorcycle with Elvis Presley.

Elvis Presley and Mary Kathleen Selph at the corner of South Parkway and Elvis Presley Blvd. in Memphis, Tennessee. Mary was killed in an auto accident on July 18, 1972 at the age of 20.

Each time, the daughter has been referred to as 'an unidentified woman'. 'I just didn't want her to go on as an unidentified woman,' says the mother, Peggy Selph Cannon of Bartlett, after the photograph appeared in The Commercial Appeal's special Turn of the Century section on Jan. 1.

Cannon says her daughter, Kathleen 'Kathy' Selph, then 20, was being driven home by Elvis when the picture was shot by a photographer for The Commercial Appeal in June 1972. A neighbor showed her the photograph in the newspaper that week, and Cannon says she 'reprimanded' her daughter for dating a married man. That's when she learned that Elvis and Priscilla Presley had separated.

The daughter, who had moved out of her parents' home, had been working as a dancer and singer at the old Whirlaway Club, where a member of Elvis' Memphis Mafia noticed she resembled Priscilla Presley, says Selph's brother, Steve. His sister and Elvis were introduced and dated for a while, he says.

It ended less than a month after the photograph was taken when Selph died in an automobile accident. 'There was a real nice spray of flowers at her funeral from the Presley family. And there was a huge orchid at the funeral. I always felt it came from Elvis,' says Cannon, who remarried after the death of her husband, former deputy fire chief E. B. Selph.

* * *

DISTANT HEROES

by Herb Caen

I remember when the spitball was legal and when Three Finger Mordecai Brown had five fingers and when the 1929 Seals had a club that could have beaten most of the majors and when the White Sox wore socks that were really white except when they turned black in 1919 and a little urchin looked up at Shoeless Joe Jackson, accused of taking a bribe, and allegedly whinnied, "Say it ain't so, Joe," and…

Well, never mind. I'm not parading my age and devotion, I'm simply establishing my bona fides as a long-time follower and admirer of the great old game of inches, baseball.

This requires a certain nuttiness. And to be a nut about baseball you have to be an old nut, for baseball is an old man's game, even when the old man is young. Put a kid in a monkey suit and he immediately becomes an ancient, adopting a grave and sober mien, chewing reflectively on his tobacco cud and occasionally spitting with tremendous dignity. There is no room for youthful hijinks in baseball, and the "showboat" is regarded with suspicion (hence the coolness toward the Charlie Finleys and other stuntmen).

I remember when I got my first uniform as a member of the Sacramento American Legion club. As soon as I put it on my manner changed. When I played in sweatshirt and jeans I was just another sandlot joker, a true busher. But once in uniform, I became a man, gazing out over the field with steely eyes. Undue laughter was out. Life, which was baseball, became a serious matter and we all aged overnight. Cops and ballplayers are very much alike: out of uniform they look ten years younger, a discovery that always comes as a surprise.

There are two major reasons why I believe today's youngsters cannot truly appreciate baseball. The first is the westward move of major league teams, and the second is television.

When I was a kid big-league ball was played exclusively in the far-off, mysterious East. We read about it, dreaming impossible dreams, but we never saw it except maybe at World Series time in the newsreels which showed the players performing with incredible speed and agility. We didn't learn until much later that this was because those primitive cameras tend to speed up the action. Big leaguers were all supergods in a distant Olympus, possessed of a genius beyond mortal capabilities.

My first trauma came when Stanley Hack, a kid I had occasionally played sandlot ball with in Sacramento, was purchased by the Chicago Cubs. I knew he was good, but no superman, and I figured privately that he would last maybe a week in that rarefied company. Well, he not only lasted for years, he became one of the great Cubs, to be ranked alongside Kiki Cuyler, Hack Wilson and Gabby Hartnett. That was a shock.

Then — oh, the awful propinquity of it all — everything began to cave in. Television, the great leveler, began showing us weekly that major leaguers — at least those of today — were all mortal and that a big-league game can be every bit as tedious as the kind we had grown up with. And when the major leaguers came to town in person the reality became stark. These are good ballplayers, to be sure, but were they fit to shine the shoes of George Sisler and Eddie Collins and the Big Six and the Big Train and all the other heroes who had strode through our childhood imaginations? Growing up is always painful and never more painful than this.

That's why I say you have to be an old man of whatever age to enjoy baseball — and how are the kids of today to get the message when it no longer exists? To them, Candlestick Park is just Windlestick Park and those guys out there are just guys out there. To us who refuse to let the dream die, we are sitting in the Polo Grounds and we are watching Davy Bancroft and Freddie Lindstrom and Frank Fitzsimmons and Mel Ott with his foot in the air as he swings and Heinie Groh advancing to the plate with that crazy bottle bat of his.

We have to squint a little to get away with it, but squint we do to bring a little of the glory back into focus. I can well understand why most of the shaggy haired beautiful kids of today couldn't care less about baseball. It comes as a pleasant surprise that so many of them still do, when they can't see the ghosts in the infield and the angels in the outfield, playing the dream game that we old-timers are forever watching from out of the past.

* * *

* * *

HEARING THE JAN. 6 HEARINGS

by Larry Bensky

If they stick to their announced schedule, the House of Representatives’ January 6 Committee will hold public “Hearings” seven times.

The stated goal is to provide a better understanding of who was involved in the storming, invading, and damaging of the U.S. Capitol building on the day seventeen months ago when when Congress was suppposed to certify the 2020 Presidential election results.

The unstated goal is to lay most of the blame on former President Trump, whose electoral defeat was obvious to everyone but himself. And, by extension, to associate anyone who still supports Trump with the supposedly fatal “fringe” label. And perhaps along with Trump, inflict upon them criminal indictments.. 

Precedent would seem to indicate there’s a chance for this to happen. Precedent and current practice would seem to indicate it’s highly unlikely.

Hearings like this don’t take place often. When they do, it’s an indication that sometime serious is wrong.

Members of such committees sometimes justify their presence in apocalyptic terms. On the January 6 committee, they’ll ”blow the roof off the House,” said Maryland Democrat Jamie Raskin, (who earlier chaired the unsuccessful Congressional attempt to impeach Trump). January 6 “was a more serious a threat to this country than Watergate,” according to California Democrat Zoe Lofgren, who was a Congressional aide in 1972 when Nixon was threatened with impeachment. (He quit after the Hearings, before he faced trial). 

And in their opening statements, January 6 Committee chair Bennie Thompson of Mississippi stated that what went on “should never happen,” while ranking Republican Liz Cheney said it was “an attempted coup.” 

Twenty million people watched the first 90-minute session. Countless millions more read about it in newspapers or on-line. Upcoming meetings will add significantly to the total.

But it’s impossible to say what military activities (Ukraine and beyond); ghastly deprivations of life (mass killings by deranged individuals); or climatic disasters (fires, earthquakes, et al) may vie for attention this summer, while the January 6 hearings continue.

Those of us who’ve lived through a lot of these can be permitted to wonder.

It all started with a change of information delivery systems. Something called “television” went from being in 1% of households in 1945 at the end of World War Two., to 90% of homes in 1951. A Senate Committee held televised hearings on “Organized Crime” 70 times in 16 cities, almost all of them live on the three then-existing networks.

By the time the hearings ended and a report was issued in 1951, 70% of the public knew about what “criminals” were doing, and thought they should be stopped. The Kefauver Committee ended. Organized (and disorganized) crime continued.

We’ve had another seismic shift in information delivery in recent years. Increasingly, the nation is “wired.” People walk down the street with their eyes on their palms, wherein their communications devices reside. They type or talk into them. Are these people more or less “well off”? Do they have more or fewer economic concerns? Do they accept or reject those who are more “like them” in appearance? Are they dreaming more or less about who they love or have loved, or might love? 

The MM (mass media) seem desperate for their divided and subdivided attention.

“Hopscotching the World for Headlines” was the way NBC news began its 15-minute nightly newscast when I was a kid in the 1940s, watching the Kefauver Committee after school, on our tiny, flickering black and white TV. The sponsor was Camel Cigarettes, the newscaster a ”personality,” the mellifluous John Cameron Swayze, who didn’t pretend to be a news specialist.

Let’s see what such a TV personality might find today, were he “hopscotching” the (to me) indispensable NY Times.

Jan. 6 Hearing: A News Event Cast As Drama”

“Cabinet Member Spoke of Ousting Trump Over Riot”

“Trump Snubs His Daughter for Accepting His Defeat”

“We All Have a Duty to Ensure that What Happened on Jan. 6 Never Happens Again”

“Trump, American Monster”

“He’s Not Going Away”

“When It Comes to the Jan. 6 Assault on the Capitol, the Spectacle is the Message”

“After Hearings, a Tenuous Path to Indict Trump”

“Top Lawyer Advised Pence Not to Obstruct Vote Count”

“Businesspeople Can Hire Consultants for Everything—Including Going to Prison”

“The End of Democracy: Looking for Ways to Heal America’s Political Divisions”

“Sentimentializing Slavery: The Racial Song that Became an Anthem”

Grazing behind the headline hopscotch, as NBC TV news didn’t do in my youth, and as TV news, national and local, still doesn’t do today, we find that a consensus has emerged.

Unless the January 6 hearings produce evidence of crimes, unless those crimes are prosecuted, unless those indicted for such alleged criminal activity plead guilty or are convicted, unless the Democratic Party retains control of Congress and its investigative machinery, unless racist, male-dominant behavior is marginalized and denounced, unless socialization in schools and communities turns to elevation of mutual well-being rather than legitimizing personal gratification….

All of that better hurry.

Meanwhile, follow the hearings on your device of choice.

And don’t forget to flush, on your way out!

(Larry Bensky can be reached at LBensky@igc.org.)

* * *

* * *

WHO LED THE POLLY KLAAS KIDNAPPING?

Editor,

We (us freelance investigators) are fairly sure that about two or three ex-convicts did the actual kidnapping of Polly Klaas. But where was Polly held hostage for nearly two months before Richard Davis was finally arrested? Are we to believe that Davis had her hidden alone all that time? How did he shop for groceries? How did a nearly broke ex-convict on parole afford the automobiles used and the rent for his safe house? How in tiny Ukiah did he keep his secret even a week? Like Lee Harvey Oswald allegedly worked alone, did Davis also work alone? Very doubtful. I find it very unlikely that Davis was the only kidnapper. My theory is that he was hired by the original kidnappers to bring Polly back to Petaluma. He evidently panicked and killed her near the Mendo-Sonoma County border.

Here is an example of how tricky this District Attorney Eyster can be. Before my trial and discovery District Attorney Eyster listed Bruce Anderson as a potential prosecution witness. He had no intention of calling Bruce Anderson to the stand. Bruce Anderson could not help District Attorney Eyster's prosecution. Why did District Attorney Eyster list Bruce Anderson as a witness? That allowed him to ask all jurors if they knew Bruce Anderson. One of the first ladies asked stated she was from Boonville and was a friend of Anderson. District Attorney Eyster quickly made her the first person he excused from jury duty. Why is District Attorney Eyster so paranoid of the AVA & Co.? 

District Attorney Eyster also told the jury I gave this alleged victim 40 whacks with a stick. This victim never attended the trial and there were no eyewitnesses. So I would really like to know who counted these alleged 40 whacks?

District Attorney Eyster already won his fake trial against me and wants to sentence me to over 20 years for an alleged street fight! What more does this wiggy Eyster want out of me? There has to be a motive for him and Judge Faulder to go to all the trouble to frame me. What are they so paranoid about?

Sincerely,

David Detective Youngcault Crow Territory Bound Giusti. 

Mendocino County Jail, Ukiah

* * *

* * *

SOCIETY OF SPECTACLE

The televised spectacle of the January 6th hearings will not restore democracy or halt the rise of the far right. The hearings are a desperate ploy by a doomed political class.

by Chris Hedges

The Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol, whose first of six televised hearings began last Thursday, is spectacle replacing politics. There is nothing substantially new in the accusations. The committee lacks prosecutorial power. No charges have been filed by Attorney General Merrick Garland against former President Donald Trump and none are expected. The choreographed hearings, like the two impeachment trials of Trump, will have no effect on Trump voters, other than to make them feel persecuted, especially with more than 860 people already charged (including 306 guilty pleas) for their role in storming the Capitol. The committee echoes back to Trump opponents what they already believe. It is designed to present inaction as action and substitute role-playing for politics. It perpetuates, as Guy Debord writes, our “empire of modern passivity.”

The committee, which most Republicans boycotted, hired James Goldston, a documentary producer and former president of ABC News, to turn the hearings into engaging television with slick packaging and an array of pithy sound bites. The result is, and was meant to be, politics as reality television, a media diversion that will change nothing in the dismal American landscape. What should have been a serious bipartisan inquiry into an array of constitutional violations by the Trump administration has been turned into a prime-time campaign commercial for a Democratic Party running on fumes. The epistemology of television is complete. So is its artifice.

The two established wings of the oligarchy, the old Republican Party represented by politicians such as Liz Cheney, one of two Republicans on the committee, and the Bush family, are now united with the Democratic Party elite into one ruling political entity. The ruling parties were already in lock step for decades on the major issues, including: war, trade deals, austerity, the militarization of police, prisons, government surveillance and assaults on civil liberties. They worked in tandem to pervert and destroy democratic institutions on behalf of the rich and corporations. They desperately work together now to stave off the revolt by enraged and betrayed white working men and women who support Donald Trump and the far right. 

Committee members cloyingly seek to sanctify themselves and their hearings by holding up the Constitution, democracy, the Founding Fathers, due process, the consent of the governed and the electoral process.

Bennie Thompson, chairman of the committee, talked about “domestic enemies of the Constitution who stormed the Capitol and occupied the Capitol, who sought to thwart the will of the people, to stop the transfer of power.” Liz Cheney called the Capitol “a sacred space in our constitutional republic.”

There was no acknowledgement by committee members that the “will of the people” has been subverted by the three branches of government to serve the dictates of the billionaire class. No one brought up the armies of lobbyists who are daily permitted to storm the Capitol to fund the legalized bribery of our elections and write the pro-corporate legislation that it passes. No one spoke about the loss of constitutional rights, including the right to privacy, because of wholesale government surveillance. No one mentioned the disastrous trade deals that have deindustrialized the country and impoverished the working class. No one spoke of the military fiascos in the Middle East that cost taxpayers over $8 trillion, the for-profit health care system that gouges the public and prevents a rational response to the pandemic, already resulting in over a million deaths, or the privatization of institutions of government, including schools, prisons, water treatment, trash collection, parking meters, utilities and even intelligence gathering, to enrich the billionaire class at our expense.

The gaping hole between the reality of what we have become, and the fiction of who we are supposed to be, is why spectacle is all the ruling class has left.  Spectacle takes the place of politics. It is a tacit admission that all social programs, whether the Build Back Better Plan, a ban on assault weapons, raising the minimum wage, ameliorating the ravages of inflation or instituting environmental reforms to stave off the climate emergency, will never be implemented. Those who occupy the “sacred space” of “our constitutional republic” are capable only of pouring money into war, allocating $54 billion to Ukraine, and passing ever higher military budgets to enrich the arms industry.

The wider the gap becomes between the ideal and the real, the more the proto fascists, who look set to take back the Congress in the fall, will be empowered. If the rational, factual world does not work, why not try one of the many conspiracy theories? If this is what democracy means, why support democracy? 

The right-wing also communicates through spectacle. What were the four years of the Trump presidency but one vast spectacle? Spectacle versus spectacle. The aesthetic of spectacle, as in the dying days of the Roman Empire or Tsarist Russia, is all that is left. “Our politics, religion, news, athletics, education and commerce have been transformed into congenial adjuncts of show business,” Neil Postman writes in Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business. The current ruling class, blinded by their hubris and pomposity, however, is not very good at it.

The far right, which believes vaccines cause autism, angels exist, a cabal of satanic, cannibalistic sexual abusers of children that run a global child sex trafficking ring are trying to destroy Trump, and the inerrancy of the Bible, is far more entertaining, even as it accelerates the solidification of corporate tyranny. If the republic is dead, do you want to watch Joe Biden mumble his way through another press conference or the burlesque of Rand Paul chain-sawing the tax code in half and Ted Cruz accusing Barack Obama of trying to provide “expanded Medicaid” to ISIS? Do you want to wake up to the newest rhetorical outrage by Trump, who when he campaigned for president accused Obama of founding ISIS, suggested Ted Cruz’s father was involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy, argued that noise from windmills cause cancer and recommended ingesting disinfectant to fight Covid, or pay homage to a set of values long ago discarded by the ruling class for lies, corruption and greed?

In short, since the system has betrayed and fleeced you, why not take it down with the vulgarity and crudity it deserves? Why not be entertained by political arsonists? Why engage in the polite civility and political decorum demanded by those who destroyed our communities, wrecked the nation, looted the US Treasury, oversaw a series of costly military debacles and took away our ability to make an adequate living, as well as our childrens’ future? 

In 1924, the government of Weimar Germany decided to get rid of Adolf Hitler and the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, or Nazis, by trying Hitler for high treason in the People’s Court. Hitler was clearly guilty. He had tried to overthrow the elected government in the botched 1923 “Beer Hall Putsch,” which, like the January 6 riot, was as much farce as insurrection. It was an open and shut case. The trial, however, backfired, turning Hitler into a national martyr and boosting the political fortunes of the Nazis.

The reason should have been apparent. Germany, convulsed by widespread unemployment, food riots, street violence and hyperinflation, was a mess. The ruling elites, like our own, had no credibility. The appeal to the rule of law and democratic values was a joke.

There was a revealing moment in the hearings when Capitol police officer Caroline Edwards, who suffered a concussion during the storming of the Capitol, related an exchange she had with Joseph Biggs, a leader of The Proud Boys who was indicted, along with four other Proud Boy leaders, for seditious conspiracy in connection with the storming of the Capitol.

The tables started turning, once the — what is now that — the Arizona group — that’s what you said — the crowd with orange hats, they came up chanting “F-U-C-K antifa!” Edwards told the committee. “And they joined that group. And once they joined that group, Joseph Biggs’ rhetoric turned to the Capitol Police. He started asking us questions like, “You’ve — you didn’t miss a paycheck during the pandemic,” mentioning stuff about — our pay scale was mentioned, and, you know, started turning the tables on us.”

The brief exchange highlighted the yawning gap between the haves and the have nots, which, if not addressed, will turn Trump, his supporters, Biggs, the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers into martyrs.

Congress is a cesspool. Corrupt politicians whore for the rich and get rich in return. This reality, which the hearings ignore, is apparent to most of the nation, which is why the hearings will not bolster the flagging fortunes of the ruling political class, desperate to prevent displacement.

The old ruling class is slated for extinction, not that what follows will be better. It won’t. But the game of pillage and corruption in the name of sacred democratic values no longer works. A new game is taking its place, one where narcissistic buffoons, who stoke the fires of hate and only know how to destroy, entertain us to death.

(chrishedges.substack.com)

* * *

Publicity photo of W.C. Fields posing on the green at Lakeside Golf Club in Toluca Lake with Baby LeRoy, his co-star in three films, ca. 1934. Source: Bison Archives

22 Comments

  1. Harvey Reading June 13, 2022

    Forbes? A mouthpiece for the wealthy to spread their, and the guvamint’s–which THEY own–lies, and further condition the gullible, brain-dead population into believing everything their wealthy masters tell them and doing everything those wealthy scum tell them to do.

    People in the US are so brain-dead that they seem to remember nothing of all the lies told them since the end of the second war on the world. They appear incapable of learning. Rather, they just adjust to their ever-growing enslavement to the wealthy with a shrug and a yawn…then grow a huge belly (and beard, for the so-called males), purchase an assault weapon replica, and maybe a trump flag to fly proudly as they waddle around, or drive their eggmobiles to-and-fro at speeds far in excess of posted limits.

    The US population has become the definitive example of stupidity.

    • scott perkins June 13, 2022

      I bet you’re fun at parties!

  2. Joseph Turri June 13, 2022

    WHAT TO DO ABOUT GUN VIOLENCE IN AMERICA?
    I would suggest Robin Sunbeam and Justice Warren Burger might have been asleep in English class when the use of a semicolon was discussed.

    We use a semicolon to connect related independent clauses.
    An independent clause is a sentence that communicates a complete thought and makes sense on its own. We also use a semicolon with a conjunctive adverb or transitional phrase or use semicolons to separate items in a list.

    With those concepts in mind let us examine the Amendment II:
    A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State;😊 the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

    Please note there is a semicolon between the first independent clause and the second, namely “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed”. The right to bear arms is an independent clause which is separate and distinct from the first independent clause. Had they intended it necessary for those TWO independent clauses to be read together they would not have needed to use semicolon.

    SO, WHAT TO DO ABOUT GUN VIOLENCE IN AMERICA?
    Enforce the laws we have and lock the criminals up.
    Joseph “John” Turri

  3. Harvey Reading June 13, 2022

    ” WHAT TO DO ABOUT GUN VIOLENCE IN AMERICA?”

    Repeal the ridiculous, and unnecessary, 2d amendment of the document designed to serve the wealthy and to ensure their (minority) rule over the rest of us…forever. Playing the punctuation game is an exercise in fantasy.

    As I recall, the ridiculous clause (with its nonsensical wording) was adopted to placate a few nutty northerners who were afraid the feds would build an army of its own and that their precious militias would be out-of-work. That happened near the beginning (even with the ridiculous amendment, the only remnant being the national guards that states pay taxes to keep…and that can be nationalized at the drop of a hat, by the feds.

    • Joseph Turri June 13, 2022

      Harvey’s last sentence reads:

      “That happened near the beginning (even with the ridiculous amendment, the only remnant being the national guards that states pay taxes to keep…and that can be nationalized at the drop of a hat, by the feds.”

      The reasoning in the last half of that sentence exemplifies why we should keep the 2d amendment.

      • Harvey Reading June 14, 2022

        You have a strange sense of logic…

        • Joseph Turri June 14, 2022

          It is definitely different than that of a lot of folks around today….

  4. Eric Sunswheat June 13, 2022

    RE: …volume of drug problems and behavioral health issues around the Motel 6 area, and Brush Street in Ukiah. Lt. Caudillo reported that new apartments in Ukiah specifically intended to provide housing to people with addiction and behavioral health issues are generating a lot of calls to the Sheriff.

    — Monica Huettl, Summary of the June 8 Redwood Valley Municipal Advisory Council meeting (via MendoFever)

    ->. Mendocino Sheriff Kendall continues to provide the equivalent of ‘Reefer Madness’ to the 5 year out of date Fentanyl myth in press releases, inducing further social inequities, ultimately increasing law enforcement burden.

    Impressionable naive young teens and adults truth test the press release self promotion, by Sheriff Kendall of the claimed risk to over exposure to Fentanyl with skin contact or inhalation to deputies and others, that is in most situations an out and out lie.

    So as these clear inaccuracies are established, the slippery slope unravels, as what other boundaries on Fentanyl use, and risks of addiction and death, erodes credibility in epidemic proportions.

    Misrepresentation, dishonesty and or incompetence, in relaying established facts, results in Redwood Valley being underserved by the Sheriff Department, and could be a summary conclusion takeaway, as to why we are adrift with County resource mismanagement.

  5. Marmon June 13, 2022

    RE: FAKE HEARINGS

    The January 6th hearings aren’t a trial. There is no “other side.” This is a show trial in the Stalin mode. Guilty until proven innocent. No wonder the Left loves it! It’s a symbol of the tyrannical one party state they are trying to install in this country

    Marmon

    • Bruce Anderson June 13, 2022

      It’s too boring for the left (non-existent in the United States) but seems to fascinate the Trumpers-Tantrumers.

      • Marmon June 13, 2022

        You’re right, I apologize, the left is actually the right these days. I’m a living example.

        #ULTRAMAGA

        Marmon

    • Harvey Reading June 13, 2022

      And the (deranged) rant goes on…da, da, ti da…

    • Jurgen Stoll June 13, 2022

      The tyrannical one party state is already here Marmon, thanks to the filibuster and electoral college, so enjoy it while you can.

      • Bruce McEwen June 13, 2022

        The two party state is the one party state; the only form the human brain can form is based on its own: the mystery of the Holy Trinity; the symbol for Yin-Yang; even in ancient Mexico there was such a place called Mictlan in the Popul Vu, a state of eternal dreariness where there was neither pleasure nor pain, disappointment or hope, for ever and ever…

        • Jurgen Stoll June 13, 2022

          Not where I was going, but I can relate. My state of eternal weariness started when rethuglicans decided they couldn’t win a fair election because they are a party bankrupt of ideas that people will vote for, so they kept on doubling down on their assholery. They couldn’t just leave it at attacking dems or the government, they decided to attack democracy itself. Not happening.

          • Bruce McEwen June 13, 2022

            Roger that; neither HarveyThe Heavy nor James The Trump. Over & out.

        • Harvey Reading June 13, 2022

          The trinity is like all the claims that used to be made regarding the wonders of 3-in-1 oil: a bunch of baloney.

    • Chuck Dunbar June 13, 2022

      James, I bet you’re fun at parties, too!

      • Harvey Reading June 13, 2022

        Have you ever noticed how thin and flimsy paper napkins have become over the last five years? And how the price of them went up as the quantity of paper became smaller. Aint kaputalism grand? In my lifetime, first it gave us the 13-ounce “pound” of coffee; then they started shorting the amount of ice cream in containers; now it’s the 3.78 quart “gallon” of bleach. And so on… And what do us good ‘mucans do? Not a damned thing, ’cause we’re so dumb.

        Don’t it make ya wanna wrap yourself in ol’ gory and screech out Francis Scott Key’s lyrics at the top of your lungs? What a dumb bunch of ignorant suckers we are. It makes me wanna buy my very own eggmobile! And, become a brain-dead yuppie!

        • Harvey Reading June 13, 2022

          Oh, and don’t forget how the volume of toilet paper has been shrinking for years…as the price went UP. More evidence that people here are just plain dumb.

          A few years back, I mentioned to a Walmart clerk how amazing it was that they could manage to fit 18 rolls into a package the same size as the one that used to hold 12 rolls. She broke out laughing. That gave me a little hope at the time, but it turned out to be a false hope, as the crap they (and other retailers, including the “beloved” mom-and-pops) sell now is so flimsy it’s guaranteed to split when it should be wiping. And the price goes up continually, little-by-little, until bare-faced greed set in, under the pseudoscientific name of inflation, which is supposed to divert the blame from where it belongs…right on the shoulders of the greedy manufacturers and peddlers, large or small.

          • Chuck Dunbar June 13, 2022

            There is no hope in all of this, Harvey, but we can turn to prayer and service to our fellow man– and woman. And perhaps that will save us….

            • Harvey Reading June 14, 2022

              You betcha, Chuck. Turning to imaginary beings has worked so well in the past, hasn’t it–LOL

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