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Mendocino County Today: December 16, 2012

JAMES MARMON, a Mendocino County CPS worker fired for identifying the precise problem with CPS, again puts his finger right on the nut of the problem: “This is a copy of an email I sent to the County today regarding baby “Emerald.” To Lowery, Angelo, Losak, Applegate, and the Board of Supervisors. As far as I am concerned, you all assisted Tubbs in murdering this child. The paradigm shift that was put into place is the problem. How do you fix this? By putting responsibility back onto the social worker where it belongs and provide them with all the training and tools needed to do their jobs. When social workers are protected from ‘being torn apart in court’ and all decisions and recommendation are that of the Agency not individual social workers, then you have placed the children of our county in great danger. I have talked to other social workers who say they like the shift because they don’t have to make the tough decisions; those social workers should go. Mendocino County is the only county in the State, and as far as I know, the Nation, which has made this shift known as from the “Social Worker Recommends” to the “Agency Recommends.” Social workers therefore don’t take responsibility for the job they do. The State has provided the proper tools and guidelines, but Mendocino County chooses to ignore them. To end with, since the Agency made the choice to take all responsibilities in the decision making process, then I believe the Agency should take all the blame in this child’s death. Stacey Cryer and Bryan Lowery need to go. For over four years I attempted to warn you all about the dangers of the paradigm shift among other issues and you all turned on me in retaliation. As I told you all before, I will not go away quietly. — James Marmon MSW”

SOME SAY. By John Wester

Some say it was the devil’s work;

The evil present in our lives--

Moves silent, strange, can’t see it lurk

Beneath the placid face but drives

The weak into a monstrous act

As if pure evil were a fact.


Then there’s others who would say

That there oughtta be a law,

One that keeps the creeps away

From means to do what we just saw.

Me, I say there’s more to come--

When few have most, and most have some.


I WAS CURIOUS how the jocks would react to the Connecticut horror, not sure they'd react at all seeing as how sports people tend to monomania and seem only dimly aware of events outside the ballpark. So I tuned in KNBR's Sports Talk where I occasionally listen in between public radio discussions of the daily atrocities committed everywhere in the world except the ballpark. Ah, check that: the ballpark is often semi-outta control, too. Anyway, the sports talk guy I like best is Mr. T, Tom Tolbert, a former NBA forward and, incidentally, a teammate of Cloverdale's Craig MacMillan at Arizona State back in the day. Tolbert's a cut above most of the jock-jocks, smarter and funnier. It wasn't Tolbert I tuned in Saturday; it was some other guy whose name I didn't get. But sure enough, a few minutes in, the guy said, “Yeah, yeah, terrible tragedy yesterday in Connecticut. Don't really have the words to describe… What can anyone say? But in the wake of that thing in Connecticut, it's really, really great and heart-warming to see the teamwork of the kids…” and he went on to name the football teams of two obscure institutions of alleged higher learning who'd just played in an even more obscure bowl game. Really, is it necessary to hear from every media person in the country on that event? What's to say? Have you heard a single comment or analysis that wasn't simply a statement of the obvious? A lonely nut with easy access to weapons nobody needs to possess murders a bunch of people. This one was more terrible because most of the vics were children. I found a lot of the talk about Connecticut offensive, especially NPR's “coverage,” which was heavy on the shrinks, natch, given the preponderance of narcissists in the NPR demographic. “Tell me, doctor, what should we say to our children?” Well, Butthead, unless the children ask, you don't have to tell them anything. And if they do ask, and they're under the age of twelve — young people over the age of twelve, if they're of normal intelligence, already know that a high percentage of the adults around them are batshit — tell the little kids that monopoly capitalism manufactures as many human psychos as it does inhuman gizmos, that psychos are everywhere with an especially heavy concentration of them in government and elected office, but the odds that one of them will do something bad to you are practically nil. So go back to shooting people on your video game and don't worry about it.”

PS. ON THE CONNECTICUT murders: bad parenting certainly includes the idiots who drag their small children to these outdoor memorials. Why lay a terrible one-off horror on your kid? Are you trying to give him nightmares, trying to make a nut case out of him?

DEPARTMENT OF UNINTENTIONAL HILARITY that fount of unintentional hilarity, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat: (1) “Local educators react to Conn. shooting, prepare for students' questions.” I can just hear Mendocino County's Superintendent of Schools: “Anybody around here know how to spell Connecticut?”

AND THEN there was this PD classic: (2) “Shooter at Conn. school said to have personality disorder.” Think so? Let's not rush to judgment here.

ACCORDING TO THE WASHINGTON POST, Colorado is assembling a government task force to figure out “how to create a market for legal, recreational marijuana” in the state without bringing the feds down on them, ala Mendocino County. If the former (presumably) toker in the White House has a plan for dealing with Colorado and Washington State's voter-approved green light for green bud he hasn't revealed it. But Obama did tell ABC News' Barbara Walters last week, “We've got bigger fish to fry. It would not make sense for us to see a top priority as going after recreational users in states that have determined that it's legal.” Under Obama, in what our national pot battalions have viewed as major treachery on the part of Obama after promising pre-election to go easy on weed, the Drug Enforcement Administration has aggressively gone after medical marijuana dispensaries in California, where they are legal. Attorney General Eric Holder, a cipher on every issue including pot, said in a speech Wednesday that he would announce a policy on the new state laws “relatively soon,” and a Department of Justice spokeswoman on Friday said the marijuana issue is “still under review.”

Kester, Blackshear
Kester, Blackshear

JAMES KESTER, formerly of Boonville, got 35 years to life in prison Friday for the second-degree murder of Jason Blackshear, 42, back in September of 2011. The complaint said that Kester entered Blackshear's Babcock Lane home in Fort Bragg “at about 8:20pm on September 5th of 2011 and beat Blackshear to the point where he couldn't fight back,” in the words of prosecutor Scott McMenomey of the Mendocino County District Attorney's Office, then Kester wrapped an industrial-type extension cord around Blackshear's neck and strangled him to death. Kester maintained that Blackshear had attacked him first. “I fought for my life in that shed,” Kester said in a statement he read when he was sentenced Friday. Kester will do every day of the 35 years before he's eligible for parole.

CALL ME a bleeding heart, but knowing a little about the address where Blackshear breathed his last, and knowing something about Blackshear when he lived, I'm inclined to Kester's version of events. I remember Kester as a happy little guy before he was brought down by the evil white powder, and I wish he would have just walked away after he'd subdued Blackshear instead of murdering him.

THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS’ “Ad Hoc Committee” which was assigned the politically difficult task of finalizing the county’s policy regarding the use of the County’s Veterans Facilities has finished their work. The Committee came up with the predicted split the difference compromise that was alluded to at the earlier Board discussion of the artificially controversial issue by declaring the local Veterans For Peace (which, horror of horrors, allows non-vets to be members) to be treated as a “non-profit group” qualifying them for a reduced rate for use of the buildings. (“Real” vets groups get free use, others will pay a sort-of commercial rate.) This simple option could have been instituted a year ago and saved everyone a lot of trouble if cooler heads had been involved, but it required Supervisors John Pinches and John McCowen to weigh in to put the question to rest.

FROM THE TUESDAY BOARD AGENDA: “SUMMARY OF REQUEST: On November 6, 2012, the Board appointed Supervisors Pinches and McCowen as an ad hoc committee to review and recommend changes to the rules and regulations for use of the Veteran’s Memorial Buildings (Buildings). The ad hoc committee met with staff on December 5, 2012, and with staff and representatives of veterans groups on December 6, 2012. The attached Rules and Regulations Concerning Mendocino County Veterans Memorial Buildings are recommended for approval by the ad hoc committee and staff and are presented for discussion and possible action by the Board. Principle recommendations include: 1) continued priority use without fees for recognized veteran’s groups and their historically sponsored groups; 2) continued use without fees for County departments and agencies; 3) continued use by county employee groups at a reduced fee; 4) approval of use by non-profit veteran related groups (as approved by the Board) at a reduced fee; 5) elimination of the ban on rental for profit making, religious, or political activity; 6) significant increases to the fee structure; 7) significant increase in the cleaning/damage deposit; 8) clarify the authority of the Veteran’s Service Officer regarding implementation of the rental policy. The ad hoc committee and staff further recommends that Veteran’s For Peace be recognized as a non-profit veteran related group; that staff amend the Boonville Memorandum of Understanding to be consistent with that at Point Arena; and that staff review and recommend opportunities for contract oversight and administration of the Buildings rental policies. The recommended rules and regulations attempt to balance the concerns of the currently recognized veterans groups; the interest of Veteran’s For Peace to have access at parity; and the need to increase revenue to support the maintenance and repair of the Buildings. In addition, oversight of the Buildings places a burden on the Veteran’s Service Officer, particularly if usage is to be increased.” (The proposed new rules themselves can be found on the County’s Board of Supervisors website page for December 18, 2012.

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