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Off the Record (July 6, 2022)

THE PRESS DEMOCRAT wondered last week, “Toxic coal train’ proposal now stalled on North Coast; was it ever a real project?”

NO, it wasn't. Ditto for McGuire's Great Redwood Trail scam, and its foundational scam pulled off by former Congressman Bosco, and nicely summarized by this comment on the PD's website:

“Doug Bosco, former CA Representative and then US Representative made MULTI-MILLIONS in a closed deal that Mike McGuire spearheaded selling the freight rights he purchased for pennies in the North Bay. SMART purchased the rights from Mr. Bosco in the McGuire-led scheme. So it would not be too far to think this was another attempt to purchase rights that were never intended to be used. They would cook up another deal to sell the rights by bilking the taxpayers for MILLIONS, to prevent the chimerical coal train. I smell a rodents, lots of them, Andrew dig a little deeper please.” 

“ANDREW” refers to Press Democrat reporter, Andrew Graham, a young guy from the look of him, who probably knows a lot more about these excitingly corrupt schemes than he can say given that their mastermind, Bosco, owns the newspaper he works for.

AS THE ROLLING catastrophes gain momentum, this guy, the global symbol for elder abuse, Joe Biden, is in charge, hence the widespread anxiety among us Americanos that we're totally screwed in so many ways it's hard to keep track, so anxious and pessimistic are we that straight-up fascists appeal to millions of our fellow citizens, as they always have in deteriorated times like these.

HOW'S THE CLICHE GO? “Pessimism of the spirit, optimism of the will”? I think that's backwards. I feel optimistic enough for a guy at the very top of the actuarial tables, but intellectually pessimistic whenever I confront the facts. A better version might be, “Pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the spirit.”

AS AN EARLY RISER, I work out (sic) to KZYX's early talkies, and as a paid up member of government audio outta Philo, I hereby request that Thom Hartman and The Takeaway switch time slots, with Hartman on at 6am, the jibber jabber idiocy of The Takeaway at, if we must, 5am. I'm probably the only person who would notice, so why not make an old man happy as he pounds the pavement at six every morning, hoping in vain for intelligent audio company? (So, like, why not turn it off? Because KZYX is the only radio I get other than cancer-causing am radio out of Ukiah. Early morning audio accompaniment is force of habit, I guess, but The Takeaway isn't even entertaining for us connoisseurs of wacky. It's just dumb and boring unto infuriating.)

NATCH, The Takeaway's tiresomely “woke” hostess is a great one for the latest rhetorical irritations — “Help me understand,” and “Walk me through…”

A READER WRITES: “MRC is busily taking trees from the forest, and what we hear are saws and dozers below our place. BTW, the last trip to the coast I noticed lots of tree-loads being trucked out on the highways and they were all loaded with doug fir (not of great diameter, either). I wonder if the price of fir is up at the moment. What happened to Measure V? If you were referring to the Supes & Measure V, the answer is money. Big Money does as it pleases, and we the peeps best stay out of its way. The owner of the Oakland A's can do whatever he likes in our forests. (Poor baby has the worst record in baseball).”

MEASURE V?  Passed by Mendo’s voters but unenforced, natch. V would have compelled MRC to reduce standing dead tree fire hazards (declared “nuisances”) even with a formal County Counsel opinion two years ago that said that Mendocino Redwoods was clearly NOT exempt from nuisance laws.

ALSO NATCH, when the Albion-Little River Volunteer Fire Department thought it would be swell if MRC paid their fair share of fire protection, MRC said no, and that was that. Ditto for Karen Calvert and Mr. Karen,  Albion hill royalty, who said they wouldn't be paying their fair share for fire protection either.

HOMELESS CAMPS are proliferating inland, causing major additional headaches for the cops, and major anxiety for people living along Mike McGuire's Great Redwood Drug and Alcohol Campout Trail. And maybe it's time to shelve the term “homeless,” which implies very poor, respectable people turned out of doors because they don't have the money for indoors. However, the people inhabiting inland Mendo's “homeless” camps — many of them fouling inland waterways, especially the battered Russian River — are living rough because outside they are free to dope and drink themselves into daily stupors. Even more harrowing to many inland residents are “bum fires,” often set in retaliation for being rousted.

JUST SAYIN’, but if Ruth Bader Ginsburg had stepped down from the Supreme Court when Obama asked her to, Roe vs. Wade would still be in effect. And for years the Democrats claimed they were all that stood between the repeal of Roe vs. Wade was them. So, is there another reason to be a Democrat? Can't think of one.

I AGREE TOTALLY with Matt Taibbi: “Like, I suspect, a lot of America, I feel politically homeless. Life in this country increasingly is like watching a ping-pong match between the two most unhinged people in the institution. How did we get here, and what happened to the mighty engine of dependable non-change that was America just a few years ago?”

WE HEARD that Marco McClean was wowed by Supervisor Gjerde's extempore deconstruction of the Mendo Cheap Water Mafia's attempt to get taxpayers to fund the WM's continued enjoyment of, as Gjerde put it, “virtually free water.” No surprise here. Gjerde's a very smart guy which, to us, made his nearly decade-long silence extremely frustrating, especially on boards that gave incompetence a bad name. We think that the Ogress was a major intimidator, that her supervisors, and she mos def, considered her five yes votes hers, simply went along with her to elude her wrath which, we understand, was Vesuvian. Gjerde's like one of these rare cases of a guy suddenly waking up after years on life support.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT, here’s Gjerde’s impromptu deconstruction of the Mulheren-McGourty water sales proposal:

“The water tax is completely unnecessary. Even for the purposes that Supervisor McGourty just mentioned. Just simple back of the envelope estimates show that the Potter Valley Irrigation District which virtually gives away their water at $22.50 an acre foot, knowing that the state rate for irrigation water is probably around $150-$200 per acre foot, if they simply went to the state average, if the Russian River Flood Control District went to the state average for their wholesale irrigation water — those two entities by themselves could produce well over $1 million a year. So there, problem solved! $1 million a year, just those two boards. They could take action. Nobody is stopping them. But instead, nope! They want everybody in Mendocino County to pay an extra sales tax to bail them out because they don't want their customers to pay the going rate. It is so offensive. This whole water tax is the most absurd proposal to ever befall the people of Mendocino County! If this tax goes on the ballot it is going down! It deserves to go down in defeat. Everybody who came to this meeting today to speak in favor of the fire services should back off from this ill-advised proposal by Supervisors Mulheren and McGourty to pass this ridiculous and offensive water tax through a fire service tax. Supervisor Haschack and I are offering a viable plan that could pass in November potentially because it would enable the voters in 2023 to know that their taxes will be going down in 2023 because it would be 1/8 cent. If the library tax passes adding an extra 1/8 cent tax, they would still see their taxes go down by 1/8 cent. This is the most plausible scenario possible. Promises from this group and promises for that group will guarantee nothing for anybody. The only guarantee with the 3/8 cent proposal that Supervisor Mulheren has put together is that everybody's taxes will go up. There's no guarantee on how any of the money will be spent.”

CHUCK DUNBAR: “THEY’RE HERE, the fascists, and they have a bunch of smart, able candidates and officeholders like Vance and DeSantis…”

Our sagacious editor nailed a brief description of Vance, yet another more able guy than Trump, but expertly hopping onboard his train and spouting a similar message.

DeSantis was ably profiled in last week’s New Yorker (June 27th issue) by Dexter Filkins, a distinguisher reporter. I had known only a little about this guy, but now know more, none of it good. He is a smart, well-educated, driven, aggressive, politician, lacking in soul and ethics. And, like Trump, he is basically a fascist. Filkins note that he has often been described as “Trump with a brain.” His politicization of Covid—and refusal to employ common safety measures in Florida—cost that state many lives.

A quotation regarding DeSantis’ lack of concern for public interests and feedback: “Those who work closely with him say that he is unique in his disregard for public opinion and the press. ‘Ron’s strength as a politician is that he doesn’t give a fuck,’ a Republican consultant who knows him told me. ‘Ron’s weakness as a politician is that he doesn’t give a fuck’…”

Another Republican consultant, Stuart Stevens, who advised Romney’s presidential campaign, noted that DeSantis is following Trump’s playbook. “To me, Ron DeSantis is a fairly run-of-the-mill politician who will do anything to get elected…The problem is what the Party has become. It’s a race to the bottom.”

These are both scary guys who just want power and privilege–again, like Trump–and do not seem deeply moved to serve the country and the people. God save us from them. We deserve–and desperately need–better leaders.

IT WAS a former Trump White House aide, Cassidy Hutchinson, who testified that Trump attempted to force the Secret Service to take him to the Capitol after his Jan. 6 speech. “I’m the fucking president, take me up to the Capitol now!” Trump shouted, according to Hutchinson. “The president reached up toward the front of the vehicle to grab at the steering wheel when Secret Service agent Robert Engel” shoved him back into his seat. Which is your basic hearsay evidence she probably was in no position to even hear as gossip.

I WROTE some time ago that Trump incited the Jan 6 riot then scurried back to the White House to hide out. Wrong. If the recent Trump Is Bad hearing approximates the truth of that event, a Secret Service agent had to beat the Orange Monster  off the steering wheel when Trump grabbed it and demanded to be driven to the riot. The Secret Service subsequently denied it had happened.

IF TRUMP had led the mob, it certainly would have made that riot by the deluded a lot more interesting, and absolutely thrilling if Trump had led the armed Camo Buddies to hunt down his vice-president and a few slow-moving libs for a Live At Five lynching bee. But it's no surprise that Trump was too incompetent to bring off an actual coup attempt.

JAN 6 remains a riot. An insurrection would have seen armed people with a plan rush the Congress, armed people with a willingness to die for Trump, and can anyone even imagine a more preposterous figure to die for?

IF THE SECRET SERVICE refused to drive Trump to the riot, who's in charge? We all remember Bush blinkingly immobilized as he got the news that Saudi fanatics were flying passenger planes into the Twin Towers. Bush appeared to have no idea what to do as he was flown around the country to hide out before finally returning to DC. The Trump Is Bad committee ought to get Agent Engel up there to confirm or deny that he truly had to forcibly ignore Trump's order to drive him to the riot.

BUT, the Secret Service is apparently prepared to push back against claims that Trump tried to grab the steering wheel of his presidential vehicle or lunged at Secret Service agent Engel when agents refused to take him to the Capitol on January 6. The allegations were made by Cassidy Hutchinson, a former assistant to Mark Meadows, who said she had heard the tale secondhand. Bobby Engel, the lead agent on Trump's detail, and the presidential driver at the time. Both are prepared to testify under oath to the committee that Hutchinson's testimony is incorrect, according to multiple news outlets.


A recent Eureka Times Standard report stated: “Humboldt County Planning Director set to get a raise after turning down Fort Bragg job.”

Reporter Sonia Waraich: “Humboldt County’s planning and building director is set to get a raise after things didn’t quite pan out with a job in nearby Fort Bragg. This week, the [Humboldt] county Board of Supervisors is set to give Planning and Building Director John Ford a 15% raise, or an increase of $23,286 to his base annual salary [which in 2020 was $151k per year—ms]. The proposed increase comes after Ford turned down a job to become city manager of Fort Bragg in Mendocino County because his family wanted to stay in the [Humboldt] area. ‘While the Department Head compensation plan allows for an increase of up to 10%, a request of 15% is proposed today to be reflective of a commensurate salary for the skills and ability required of the Director of Planning & Building as demonstrated in the past and will be required in the future to effectively execute Long Range Planning functions that will address housing shortages, the emergence of new industries and population growth,’ the staff report states.’ … The proposed raise is on the supervisors’ consent agenda, meaning it will be passed with a single vote along with the other items on the consent agenda unless a supervisor or member of the public specifically pulls it for separate consideration or discussion.”

THE FORT BRAGG PRESSER earlier this month announcing Ford’s decision to stay in Humboldt County said that Ford “changed his mind due to family issues, including the challenge of making his son switch middle schools as well as ‘his wife’s desire to remain where they are.’ Mr. Ford said, ‘This would place significant stress on my family and would not allow me to be as socially involved in the Fort Bragg community as the job mandates’.” 

Ah yes, those old familiar “family issues.” Like his wife went along with his submission of a job application to Fort Bragg, and then suddenly realized she and her son didn’t want to move. 

Right. Of course.

It sounds a lot more like Mr. Ford just used Fort Bragg as leverage to get himself an overlarge Humboldt County raise. As soon as the Humboldt County “staff” promised to put his $23k raise on the HumCo Supes’ consent calendar, Ford decided to stay where he was. 

(Mark Scaramella)

ALAN CROW WRITES: “The more I read Herb Caen's essays in the AVA, the more I realize he was a brilliant writer. Would the esteemed Editor be kind enough to enlighten this reader on who Mr. Caen was and a little of his history?”

HERB CAEN, born and raised in Sacramento, was indeed a brilliant writer, and an important figure in the history of the SF Bay Area because his columns defined for us those times in a way few writers could. As a kid of about 12, I'd read the Chron's sports pages then try to puzzle out Caen's col, which was over my head until I got to high school, and probably still over my head, but I was too dumb to realize it. He was always smart, often funny and, I realized much later, a good prose instructor. “Keep it tight and bright.” One of my prize possessions is a fan note from the man himself in which he said he was a regular AVA reader, buying the paper “most weeks” at City Lights. Millions of us wouldn't trade him for Chicago's Royko, New York's Jimmy Breslin or, closer to home, Gaye LeBaron of the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, the last becoming a must read for me from when I landed in Mendo in 1970 who did for Santa Rosa and SoCo what Caen did for San Francisco. I should confess I suffered a rather rocky relationship with Mrs. LeBaron who seems never to have gotten over me once — I swear to you only once! referring to her — as Gaye La Ga-Ga. (She was a little too close, I thought, to the Rose City's crooks, elected and free range. Doug Bosco? Gag me, and jail him.) And there's Tommy Wayne Kramer whose cols for the Daily Journal and, over the years, several other Mendo publications, including this one, have given Ukiah the distinct sense of being a real place that unreal town is likely to have. The media times have changed, for the radical worse, in my opinion, with the loss of newspapers and hometown columnists. It occurs to me at the mention of Herb Caen; that a few old, old timers will also remember the KSFO talk jock, Don Sherwood. Every morning we read Herb Caen and every morning we listened to Don Sherwood, a very funny, daring kinda dude for those staid times. It was Caen who wrote something like this: “When Don Sherwood told a joke on the radio, you could see all the commuters in the cars next to you laughing.”

MS ADDS: I’ve been hooked on Tommy Wayne Kramer ever since he wrote this about then-Press Democrat Editorial Page Editor Pete Golis: “If oatmeal could write, Pete Golis would be out of a job.”

A READER WRITES: On the question of When does life begin? Decades ago a woman friend definitely answered this question for me: “Life begins in the scrotum of a guy in a bar at around 8pm after two beers.” Second best answer: “When the kids leave home.”

BIDEN announced Thursday that he had called the leader of Switzerland to discuss abandoning two centuries of neutrality to join NATO — before quickly correcting himself to say he actually meant Sweden. “Some of the American press will remember when I got a phone call from the leader of Finland saying could he come and see me, then he came the next day and said, ‘Will you support my joining — my country joining NATO?’ We got on the telephone. He suggested we call the leader of Switzerland,” Biden said. The president immediately fixed his mistake, adding, “Switzerland, my goodness, I’m getting really anxious here about expanding NATO — of Sweden.”

YOU KNOW what's left out of the Trump Is Bad hearings? The FBI. How many federal agents were present among the Jan 6 mob, maybe even doing some tax-funded inciting of their own? Historically considered, the FBI has always “infiltrated” alleged violence-prone groups. How can you tell who the agent is? He's the guy recommending felonious conduct, as most recently verified in the trial of those Michigan blowhards who were supposedly plotting to kidnap Michigan's governor. An FBI agent was buying the beer for the boys and encouraging the terminally dumb scheme. The old joke about the Communist Party USA was that half the membership were FBI agents. Of course the FBI is inside armed fascist groups like the Proud Boys and the other big talking Trump cultists. 

A READER WRITES: Election Fraud?

Elections Officer Katrina Bartolomei and/or District Attorney David Eyster, white courtesy phone please.

What’s the process to investigate election fraud and who does the investigating? 

Trent James, recent write in candidate for Sheriff, a resident of Texas (or maybe Virginia), falsely claimed to be a resident of Mendocino County, a requirement for the job. After getting fired by Willits Police Department and after pulling his application to get rehired by the Sheriff’s Office, he posted an online video saying he was quitting law enforcement and moving to Texas. At some point he filed a Change of Address with the USPS to have his mail forwarded to an address in Virginia. Trent James has not physically resided in Mendocino County for many months and is not eligible to hold office here. 

Back to the question, is this information sufficient to start an investigation or must a formal complaint be filed? If so, who should a complaint be filed with? And who will conduct the investigation?

ED NOTE: In his latest video Trent James says he live in Rogina Heights out near Vichy Springs. In the County’s on-line Candidate Information spreadsheet James lists his address as 1620 Madrone Dr., Ukiah. 

ON THE WAY OUT, I spot a pomegranate tree standing all alone. The ancient fruit, like this land, is hard to love. The beauty of its shape and color come with a thorn that draws blood. Its outside is red leather, its inside a catacomb of waxy white that hides so many little rubies. My grandfather once told me that every pomegranate holds 840 seeds, no more, no less, and I wondered how that could be. He said the fruit, bitter and sweet, was a metaphor for our rebirth. One of the first acts that Armenian families committed in the new land was to plant a pomegranate tree in the front yard. As a kid I could ride my bicycle through the streets of South Fresno and tell you every house that belonged to an Armenian just by spotting the tree. My uncle Mike Mamigonian's mother who looked like a Cherokee survivor of the Trail of Tears had the patience to work past the thorns, the leather and the wax. After dinner she would bring to the table as if it were an offering a giant bowl piled high with sparkling fruit. It must have taken her hours to clean. There wasn't a speck of red rind or white membrane to be found. We would devour the rubies, their crunch spitting out a red juice that stained tablecloth and shirt.

The first pomegranate trees to grow in the central valley were planted in the 1880s not for their fruit so much but because they grew like bushes and nothing could kill them, especially not drought. And they were so thick with branches that no better windbreak could be found. One of my favorite Saroyan short stories captures the predicament of his uncle Melik, who spent years trying to grow 20 acres of pomegranate for their fruit in the dry earth not far from Fairmead. With no good water he had a helluva time. He finally raised a single crop that he sent with great pride to the produce houses in Chicago. When he heard not a word for a month he placed a long-distance call. The produce man told him that no one knew what his fruit was. It wasn't an apple or a peach. It wasn't an orange or a grapefruit. He couldn't sell the pomegranates for any more than a dollar a box, if he could sell them at all. A dollar a box? Uncle Melik shouted. “What kind of businessmen are you? There is no other fruit in the world like the pomegranate. Five dollars a box isn't half enough!” The produce man shipped all eleven boxes back without a single sale. Uncle and nephew spent the rest of the winter eating pomegranates and not saying a word to each other, “because there was such an awful lot to say and no language to say it in.” — Mark Arax, ‘The Dreamt Land’ (An AVA Must Read)

HARRY MARTIN: As this long drought continues with more and more restrictions and cutbacks for existing users I observe that developers apparently have free rein and wide open access to whatever water may be available. I observe very large developments in Healdsburg, Windsor, Santa Rosa and other places. Do the agencies demanding and imposing more and more restrictions recognize that their credibility is drying up faster than the Russian River? I realize developments are in process for considerable time. But if current residents can be made to restrict their use could not developers be placed on hold? Or required to provide water for new development? Sonoma County is following the absurd practices of Southern California with endless development and very limited water, except we have no water rich neighbors from which we may steal. Would the Press Democrat please explore this aspect of the drought?

WHO'S THE FRAUD? The millions of Trumpers who claim election fraud where none, anywhere in the United States, was discovered, are as beyond reason and accountability as their orange icon. It would be nice if we could visit their job sites and shout at them, “You fraud! Loafer! Incompetent! You ought to be fired and thrown into jail.”

ORWELL said it so even a Trumper could understand. Went like this, “There was truth and there was untruth, and if you clung to the truth even against the whole world, you were not mad.” The prob here is that millions of people are clinging to untruth and are stark, raving mad. And they vote.

WITH SO MANY PEOPLE being revived from fentanyl overdoses by police and other first responders, I wonder if they might record quick interviews with the person Narcanned back to life about what the retrieved experienced while they were on the eternal side of death's door. Many non-drug people who've come close to dying report a brightly lit white tunnel at the end of which a kind of reception committee of dead relations and friends seemed to be waiting for them.

I HAD a version of the above experience ten years ago when I conked out from sepsis, spending four days in an ICU. A jolly nurse told me staff was taking bets on my chances of surviving the first night. “What were the odds?” I asked. She said, “Fifty-fifty.” I asked her which side she'd bet on. “Oh, yours,” she said with a laugh and, I assumed, the proper professional uplift.

NOT a mystic bone in my ancient bod, believe me, but also believe me when I tell you I experienced a white light but no reception committee. What I did experience was that light plus what seemed to be total recall of conversations with people from my early youth, people I hadn't thought about in years, people long dead. They were right there, and we were talking about prosaic occurrences all the way back to Honolulu, circa 1940.


(1) In the 1970s there were bestselling books about the commonality of people experiencing some sort of “tunnel” and then glorious warm welcoming light, interpreted as God, of course. The late great Carl Sagan had another take, positing that memories in the brain are laid down like layers of an onion, first/oldest ones in the center. As the brain shuts down as it dies, peeling off the outer layers, we can relive our first “memories,” eg, birth itself. The “light” is thus that of the delivery room, or wherever we were born.

(This also could be why aging humans so often forget more recent experiences but recall details from long-ago youth).

Some “Christians” didn’t appreciate his perspective. As for me, being born Caesarian, I expect to be shorted this fine experience. Can’t have everything…

 (2) I had to laugh about your comment about the light. My dad, a very hardheaded and crusty Old Crow drinker with no belief in religion, had a very rough time at the end and did code when he was in the recovery facility. They revived him, but he swore that he saw the light and it was good. My droll and comical best friend Marilyn was dying a couple of years later from Lung Cancer, and my dad just adored her. He asked me to go see her and tell her not to be afraid because it would be OK, and he earnestly wanted me to explain about the “light”. I’m visiting with her the day before she died, and I said, “OK Marilyn, my dad just wants me to tell you this and I leap into his description. While she’s sipping her milkshake that I had brought her, I explained in detail what he explained to me. After my long winded two minute explanation about how wonderful the light was, she looked at me very thoughtfully, took a long sip on the straw, and then said to me “Well then, why the hell is he still here? I think he wondered that some days too...

IT COULD HAPPEN HERE! Judge Wayne Culver is in trouble with The Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission. The Commission has recommended Culver complete an “anger management course and sensitivity training” after yelling at a defendant, “I asked you a fucking question, asshole.”

WRONG MESSAGE, JOE. Biden economic advisor Brian Deese said that Americans should “stand firm” on paying record-high gas prices because the “future of the liberal world order” is more important. “What do you say to those families that say, ‘Listen, we can't afford to pay $4.85 a gallon for months, if not years?’ the director of the National Economic Council was asked on CNN Thursday. ‘What you heard from the president today was a clear articulation of the stakes. This is about the future of the Liberal World Order and we have to stand firm,’ he replied, adding, ‘At the same time, what I would say to that family and Americans across the country is you have a president and an administration that is going to do everything in its power to blunt those price increases and bring those prices down.”

HOLD MY BEER. According to a recent poll out of the University of Chicago, a quarter of Americans say they are ready to take up arms against the government. The same poll found that more than a third of these revolutionaries own guns, and that 49 percent said they felt like strangers in their own country.

SCOTT TAUBOLD: I support the changing of the college name from Hastings’ college to “Powe no’m” which means “one people” in the nearly extinct language of the Yukis, I would like to mention that I was on the Fort Bragg committee regarding changing the name of the Northern California town for eighteen months and was satisfied with the outcome of the committee for not recommending a name change. The issues of the two justice measures differ quite a bit. The local tribes in Mendocino County did not support the name change and had no proposed name if it was due to be changed. Canceling culture or restorative justice is not a simple issue and an across the board measure is not appropriate for every circumstance and location. It brings up many very complex issues.

GOOD to see Mike Geniella back in the journalo-saddle after a decade-long exile in the Courthouse basement as DA Eyster's point man. Prior to the Courthouse dungeon, Geniella had the hardest media job on the Northcoast as the Press Democrat's man north of the county line, Hopland to Eureka, a vastness with so much happening the paper assigned Geniella an assistant reporter. 

I SAY the guy had a “hard job” because he had to remain civil with people he wouldn't otherwise have willingly associated with, and he had to write about them dispassionately, “objectively” as the naive put it. 

GENIELLA covered the Northcoast at a particularly difficult time — 1985-2010. Giant outside corporations were cashing in the forests for short-term profit-taking, destroying this area's primary industry as they went. The opposition was pretty much confined to, well, people outside the prevalent conventions, loose as they were by the late 1980s. And Geniella's job was to write fairly about this impossible gamut of impossible people.

TRY WRITING “objectively” about characters as disparate as the diva of dissent, Judi Bari, and that thug in a five thousand dollar suit, Harry Merlo. It wouldn't be an unusual day behind the desk of the Press Democrat's Ukiah Bureau, that Geniella would take a call from Merlo or one of his local surrogates demanding “better” (uncritical) coverage, than Judi Bari and her ragged entourage would barge through his door, also demanding “better” (uncritical) coverage.

BUT he brought it off. Reading through my archive from that time, Geniella's reporting holds up as a reliable guide to that volatile time, especially his truly brave reporting on Louisiana-Pacific and it's ruthless boss, Merlo whose forest rapine was so profitable Merlo hired Luciano Pavarotti to sing for a company event in Portland where L-P made its headquarters.

MERLO, a great patriot, was very unhappy when Geniella revealed on the front page of the Press Democrat that L-P had dismantled their entire Potter Valley mill and shipped it to Mexico where they were going to convert Mendo redwood to lumber milled for half the labor costs in the USofA. But Geniella had traveled to Mexico (not far south of Ensenada) and brought back the irrefutable story complete with map-diagram, final confirmation of the great economic crime L-P and Georgia-Pacific had committed against the several thousand local working people the Northcoast's woods and mills had once supported at living wages.

GENIELLA took his lumps. The editorial churchmice at Santa Rosa headquarters removed him from the timber beat, the primary beat at the time, because he was seen as too close to anti-corporate forces. When Judi Bari was blown up by a car bomb in Oakland in May of 1990, Geniella, who was close to her, wasn't given the support by his newspaper the event should have gotten.

GIVEN a full-time investigator and allowed to pursue the truth of what really happened, we'd have known who did what if Geniella hadn't been employed by a spine-free paper. As it turned out, Steve Talbot, best known for his excellent work for PBS, was given an investigator and a modest budget by KQED, and came up with Bari's ex-husband, Mike Sweeney, as the likely perp, a finding Talbot later confirmed when he revealed that Bari herself had told him she believed Sweeney had tried to kill her. The PD, incidentally, claimed they'd “lost” a key piece of evidence, evidence they'd given the FBI in the first place. And the FBI declared the case was “closed” because “nobody would talk to us.” 

WITH HIS ARRAY of local contacts, Geniella would have found the truth, but what we got was a constant din of propaganda that continues to this day from the great speakers of truth to power at KMUD, KZYX and KPFA, all of whom pretended and still pretend his work on the case doesn't exist.


[1] Regarding needing those kids:

As a young guy growing up–until I was 60–I didn’t really think a lot about abortion, as I made sure that it never affected me; i.e., I never got anyone pregnant–by very deliberate and careful planning. And I wasn’t that opposed to abortion, as I thought of it; i.e., more or less the “clump of cells” thing.

But, of course, “Here. Take this inch…”

Then we have the predictable response by the child mind of the average Democrat, and soon we have doctors inserting chainsaws into vaginas to hack the limbs off of the nine-month old before that sucker squeezes out–which would then require was is commonly referred to as murder.

Now I am fully pro-life. Some exceptions; the usual ones that are proposed.

No more inches, Democrats. We’re gonna put you all back in your high chairs, and we’ll let you down when you grow up.

[2] POT TALK, an on-line comment: I find the comment about the logging industry to be quite absurd. The logging industry was far more regulated than the cannabis industry and they followed the rules or they were shut down. They did not divert water to irrigate their forests. They did not leave human waste and other garbage for someone else to clean up. They did not practice wholesale killing of wildlife to keep them from destroying their crops. And if they went to the Board of Supervisors to ask for tax relief they would have been laughed out of the meeting. You wanted cannabis legalized. You got it. If you can’t compete, find another game to play.

[3] It was all Cassidy Hutchinson today at the hearings. Told of Trump throwing plates and food at the walls in the WH. Informed by the secret service agents who were present, Told of Trump saying, ‘I’m the fucking president, take me to the capitol.’ They refused, citing security reasons, took him back to the WH on the 6th.

Veiled threats made to people testifying. Witness tampering, is it not? 

Enough has been presented to recommend indictment. You could say that all of the above amounts to just mouse nuts, but everything taken together has sealed Trump’s fate. Too many Republicans, whether aides or members of Congress, etc., have spoken out against him. The gift that keeps on giving.

When will they choose to recommend indictment, September? Who knows? What will the DOJ do? 

Yes, a time beyond Trump.

After the Roe ruling, what did the Dems say? They said, ‘take it to the streets!’ We’ll take it to ‘girlie laugh’ Tucker et al, stay safe at home, and let the Dems run the streets and the nation.

[4] (a) So here is what is being done… the “houseless” are required to be notified in advance of cleanups, and of services that are offered. Pretty much what we are saying is, it’s fine with us if you leave your shit and refuse all over the place. Go ahead and create fire hazards and pollute waterways. It’s not only okay with us that you fuck up everything you come in contact with, we will do our best to provide you with new locations and a bunch of services and benefits to reward you for your irresponsible and often criminal behavior. You are not accountable for your actions, and we promise to create new laws to protect your way of life.

(b) And your reasonable and well thought out plan is…?

(c) My reasonable and well-thought-out plan most certainly involves accountability and work performed in order to receive any type of benefit or service. If, for example, I can be fined for littering, there must be consequences for individuals who create these disgusting encampments.

But I will tell you this, it is not incumbent upon me to devise a reasonable and well-thought-out plan in order to see the obvious failure brought about by the treatment these people receive. I am not being paid a big salary to devise solutions, but I am very well-qualified to recognize something that is not working.

And because I do not have a solution at hand does NOT make me part of the problem, as I am guessing you are eager to explain to me. On the contrary, I am a taxpayer, and I am continually looked upon to fund poorly planned solutions. And I vote, which also makes me part of the solution.

[5] In my opinion, it’s changed from “won’t do” to “can’t do”. New generations of young males have spent nearly all their time locked up in public schools, taught nonsense and no real world skills. Not only that, but their bodies are soft and pudgy unless maybe they are involved in school sponsored sports. Big deal. Joe Blow is a big stud in high school pushing a ball around. Put him on a house framing crew in 95 degree heat all day long and see how he does. Or have him pouring, leveling, and finishing concrete for a factory floor. He’ll be as big a klutz with that starting out as the nerds will be. At some time in the future, we’ll be needing factories here to make shoes and boots for example. If it turns out that we “can’t do those jobs” then we might find ourselves going about barefoot or with rags wrapped around our feet until we “can do those jobs.”

[6] GUN CONTROL, an on-line comment: “Some gun rights advocates disagree that the new rules are consistent with the court’s new standard. “It’s not an improvement on California’s concealed carry laws, it’s in defiance of this court opinion,” Dan Reid, a lobbyist with the National Rifle Association, said at Tuesday’s Assembly Public Safety committee hearing on the bill.” Uh-huh. Fuckwits like this just want to sell guns. They don’t give a shit how many kids are murdered in their classrooms or how many women are murdered by abusive partners. They don’t care that in some places, the streets drip with the blood of young adults and others shot by those who have no sense how precious life is, for themselves or anyone else. They’d rather push this Rambo fantasy that only a “good” person with a gun can counter some bad guy with a gun… never mind that the reality is most of these idiot “good” guys would freeze in a shootout and get their sorry asses killed. There was a good guy at the supermarket massacre in Buffalo, a retired police lieutenant. He fucking died, murdered by the 18 year old radicalized white supremacist armed with an AR-15. Dan Reid and the NRA would rather push their self-serving narrative that we ALL should have guns that can blow off the head of an eight year old to counter the crazies with guns that can blow off the heads of eight year olds.

It’s time for the insanity to fucking stop. 

[7] My wife told me she had listened this morning to a report about the nightmare of the airports and that they confirmed my own observation that Toronto “was the worst.”

There’s a bunch of reasons: people have been cooped up so long that once the summer began everybody and his brother decided to travel… so the number of travelers is up. At the same time there is a shortage of pilots and other airline employees who work in the terminals. The people who search your carry-ons must be exhausted by the end of their shift. And they go about these searches with zeal.

Take my advice, go on vaca in a car, do NOT fly.

[8] WATER, an on-line comment: I don't know how many times I have to say this PIPE LINE .we can run oil pipelines all over the country we can run a water pipeline from the great lakes to lake mead and lake Powell. we can run a pipe line from the Columbia river on the Washington Oregon border to all or reservoirs all that water just goes in the ocean millions of qubit feet per minute wasted when we could divert to California. If FDR was alive we would have those 2 public work projects going already not when it's too late and when there's no power in Arizona Nevada New Mexico and no lights or water in Vegas is that what it’s going to have to happen to act. What happens to the American pride in our innovations in troubling times, let's get to work and get these reservoirs full it's all doable. I will vote for any president that water pipelines are on the agenda. it's a must do. America has water. there is no need or reason for the west to be dry.

[9] 48 million cars on the road this holiday weekend making one last drive to the beach or the lake to get drunk and indulge in food which is increasingly becoming more expensive. How long can this insanity continue?

[10] When I’m hoarding, I buy one or two of the target item(s) every time I go to the store. I also, start hoarding at the first sign of societal collapse so as not to be in a rush as everything is disappearing.

Using this strategy, my canned or boxed stash doesn’t all expire at the same time. I hoard until my oldest stuff is about to expire, then I start eating my stockpile, while still adding to it. Basically a two-year rolling stash.

Ideally, produce from the garden will eventually replace the store-bought stuff – but not this year. Guess I need a little more pain – as well as topsoil.

GUNS, an on-line comment: We already do gun control in California. To purchase a handgun you must pass your handgun safety certificate test ($25), wait for it to be processed (a week or more), then return to a store and pass a background check ($32? Can’t remember) and then wait a compulsory ten day period to pick up said firearm. 

We already have enough firearm purchasing safety protocols in place. And guess what? It’s not law abiding people like myself that you have to worry about.

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